BJP govt's white paper on economy 'sham document', says Congress' Supriya Shrinate

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) The Congress on Monday dubbed the BJP government's white paper on economy as a "sham document" in which the officers of the finance ministry were made to criticise their own work done during the UPA government.

The paper is full of "lies" as comparative figures reveal that GDP growth during the 10 years of Congress-led UPA government was 6.7 per cent while that under the BJP-led NDA was 5.9 per cent, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said at a press conference.

She said the reality is that this "highly skewed and biased document" would have found no takers had it been issued by the BJP, which is nothing but a "propaganda cell".

That is why, she said, the government needed the finance ministry to do its dirty job. "Everything the previous government did is criticised without any objective evaluation of this government’s tenure, its programmes and policies," she said.

"The white paper released by this government is a joke. It proves one thing - Mr Modi and his minions know fully well just how much they have messed up the Indian economy and are desperate to somehow blame it elsewhere. But the brazenness with which the ministry of finance has been used to issue such a political document raises many concerns.

"This sham of a document has after all been prepared by officers who served in the past governments as well. The government is in continuity, just like policy decisions are. These officers have been used to reject their own past work. This is the worst kind of political undermining of the Indian bureaucracy which is supposed to be an independent institution," she said.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge shared a post showing the "real white paper" that gave a comparative report card on social media showing that the GDP growth during UPA was greater than in NDA.

He alleged in a post on X that "discrimination and oppression of SCs, STs and OBCs is 'Modi's guarantee'. The truth of 'Sabka Saath' – leave the backward behind, break ties with SC, ST, OBC".

Shrinate said the true story of the report card of economic performance during 10 years of the BJP government from 2014-2024 is that GDP growth has fallen; income, consumption and investment have stagnated; and there has been a sharp dip in household savings.

There is growing unemployment and under-employment while youth unemployment has skyrocketed. The share of employment in agriculture has gone up while jobs in manufacturing and services sector has come down. No fast developing country should see jobs in agriculture grow as workers typically leave agriculture and the reverse trend is a proof of few jobs elsewhere, she said.

Rural real wages have remained stagnant, partly because of the influx into agriculture and MGNREGA spending has still not come down years after the pandemic, suggesting continued distress and private investment has fallen steadily, she said.

Noting that FDI has fallen as a per cent of GDP as well as India's share in the global FDI, she said there has been a consistently decreasing spend on education and health in the central government budget.

"The BJP has been a total failure on the most important short-term issue facing the country, jobs; and the most important long term issue, health and education of our people," the Congress leader said.

Despite inheriting a decadal GDP growth rate of 6.7 per cent in 2014, a series of economic blunders like demonetisation, poorly prepared GST rollout and pandemic shut down ruined the Indian economy, she alleged.

The GDP growth fell steadily from 2016 with only 3.9 per cent growth in 2019, even before the pandemic happened, she said, adding that India is still below its 6 per cent trend growth line unlike large economies such as the US, which have made up all the growth loss in the pandemic.

"Unemployment was recorded at a 45-year high even before the pandemic struck. Most worrisome is youth unemployment which has been growing, according to World Bank data. It averaged 17.8 in the years 2004-2013 and has averaged 24.7 per cent in the last 10 years," she alleged.

"According to the propaganda white paper all is well, so the government is unlikely to tackle any economic problems. Joblessness is India’s most important problem, and only those who recognise it will solve it," the Congress leader noted. PTI SKC SKC KSS KSS

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