Image Source : PTI Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha.
The Modi government on Thursday tabled the white paper on the economic mismanagement done during the 10-year rule of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government saying that it when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) took over from the UPA in 2014, the economy was on a road to nowhere. The BJP government said that there was policy paralysis during the UPA’s era, no decision making, no focus on infrastrucutre building as it should have been, worse management of 2008 Global Financial Crisis, scams, the banking sector was in crisis and overall the then government failed to take forward a healthy economy.
In its white paper, the Modi government has listed out how it rebuild, rescued, recovered and rejuvenated the economy from policy stasis, paralysis and mis-governance by the UPA government and infused it with dynamism and growth, and hope in the people.
Modi govt revitalised stagnant financial sector
In the past ten years, the government has revitalised the stagnant financial sector and overhauled the credit ecosystem within the economy, bringing about significant improvements.
Nation first approach transformed quality infrastructure, logistics ecosystem
Our government’s vision of “Nation First” has transformed the quality of India’s infrastructure and logistics ecosystem, which will be key for the country to attract investments and expand its presence in global value chains.
For instance, when our government took charge in FY15, the pace of national highway construction languished at 12 km/day. The pace of construction rose more than 2.3X to 28 km/day in FY2335.
Govt focused on defence procurement
In addition, the procurement of critical equipment for the defence sector, paramount for national security was not prioritised by the UPA government. These have been emphasised by our government.
Our Government understands the true spirit of balancing ‘Prakriti’ and ‘Pragati’ which was wholly missing in the regulations of 2011. The reform measures undertaken by our government have significantly elevated the medium-term investment prospects of the economy.
Empowerment through welfare has been the leitmotif for our government. We adopted the philosophy “sabka sath, sabka vikas” prioritising universal access to basic amenities, and a participatory, mission-mode approach in actualising this philosophy.
Govt introduced technology-based monitoring mechanisms
Our government has resolved the execution challenges that plagued the UPA government by implementing technology-based targeting and monitoring mechanisms.
Besides physical and digital efficiency of implementation, the government utilised behavioural change and social capital.
Our government has innovated the delivery infrastructure besides widening the social security net.
Policy innovation to tap development potential
Besides substantially improving upon the UPA government’s programme delivery, our government also undertook several policy innovations to tap India’s development potential.
PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi empowered farmers
The PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi empowered farmers and improved their incomes without hurting the borrower-lender relationship.
Govt tackled high inflation, forex reserves increasing
To tackle the enduring challenge of high inflation inherited from the UPA government in 2014, our government strategically addressed the root cause of the problem by implementing responsible fiscal and monetary policies.
Due to the economy’s strong fundamentals restored by our government, Rupee demonstrated resilience during global shocks.
Not only did our government manage the current account prudently, but it ensured its smooth and comfortable funding via more stable foreign direct investment (FDI).
As a result, India’s external sector is much safer, with forex reserves increasing from USD 303 billion (equivalent to 7.8 months of imports) in March 2014 to USD 617 billion (10.6 months of imports) in January 2024.
When our government came to office, public finances were not in a healthy state. To restore public finances to good health, our government went to great lengths to transform India’s fiscal system into a reformed tax and spending ecosystem.
Moving away from the past practice, below-the-line financing is now being transparently disclosed.
Improvement in the quality of expenditure
The market borrowings of the Central Government, which had grown at phenomenal rates during the UPA years, were controlled by our government.
Improvement in the quality of expenditure by our government has been the cornerstone of our fiscal policy. In absolute numbers, the budgeted capital expenditure has increased over five-folds from FY14 to FY24 (RE), without any heating-up of the economy.
GST implementation much-needed structural reform
The introduction of the GST regime was a much-needed structural reform. The new tax structure is characterised by political consensus building.
Far-reaching tax reforms over-past decade have put in place effective systems that have improved revenue collection and compliances.
Focus on cooperative federalism
Acknowledging that States are equal partners in development, our government, in the true spirit of cooperative federalism, accepted the recommendations of the 14th and 15th Finance Commission. Moreover, the Centre has stood firm by the States in times of a changing environment.
Multiple reforms in last 10 years
In order to address the inefficiencies and enhance the competition and transparency in the coal sector, multiple reforms were taken up by our government in the last ten years. Our government has addressed the multiple issues plaguing the power sector of the country, thus transforming it from power-deficient to power-sufficient.
Since 2014, our government has taken several steps to correct the situation in the telecom market and to effectively handle the failures that resulted from the lack of clarity in policy in the sector.
The UPA Government failed miserably to facilitate economic activities. Instead the UPA Government created hurdles that held back economy.
Govt recongnised need for tough decisions
Our government, armed with political and policy stability, recognised the need to make tough decisions for the greater economic good. Restoring dynamism in the economy, optimism in our minds and pride in our achievements was a task that was left to us to achieve.
The Amrit Kaal has just begun and our destination is “India a developed nation by 2047”. It is our Kartavya Kaal.
ALSO READ | Lost decade, power outage, scams, infrastructure neglect: Full text of NDA White Paper on UPA’s 10-year rule