File photo: P Chidambaram Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Chidambaram highlighted that the average growth rates under the two UPA governments were at 8.36 and 7.68 per cent
Former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said the nation's economy under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is on a downward trend and added that it is "not in very competent hands."
Addressing a press conference, Chidambaram said, "I have repeatedly said that the management of the economy is not in very good hands, and I have also said that under Dr Manmohan Singh, the management of the economy was under more competent hands."
The former finance minister compared several economic aspects under the two NDA governments and the two United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments that have been in office since 1999.
Chidambaram highlighted that the average growth rates under the two UPA governments were at 8.36 and 7.68 per cent, while the same under the two NDA governments were 5.68 and 7.33 per cent respectively.
He further said that the UPA-I and UPA-II governments delivered the highest decadal growth of 8.31 per cent, since independence and that 140 million people were lifted out of poverty during this period.
He also mentioned that the economic growth had recovered to 6.39 per cent (at market prices), while the fiscal deficit had reduced to 4.48 per cent and the current account deficit had been contained at 1.7 per cent when the UPA government had demitted office in 2014.
Saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government "had inherited an economy that was on the upswing," the former finance minister said that because of demonetisation, flawed implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and "tax terrorism," the momentum gained by India's economy was lost.
The Congress leader also stressed that the "stagnation in investment" and "sluggish credit growth" were further hindering economic growth.
"The gross fixed capital formation as a percentage of GDP was 34.3 per cent in 2011-12. Even in 2013-14, it was 31.3 per cent. However, in the last three years, it has remained constant at 28.5 per cent. At that level of investment, it is not possible to achieve higher growth rates," Chidambaram said.
While saying that the Congress, during its tenure, promoted high growth, equity, and social justice, Chidambaram said that all three have suffered under the present government.
"For the sake of the country, we wish the government well in its fifth year. We know it cannot match the average growth rate of UPA-I, but we hope it can catch up with the average growth rate of UPA-II," Chidambaram said.