New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur has made a clear and factual refutation on the baseless statements of former UPA Finance Minister P. Chidambaram. Anurag Thakur has said that the headless Congress wants to create a sensation by falsifying economic data.
Anurag Thakur said, ‘Indian economy is resilient and will rebound in the coming times on the basis of continuous reforms. It is definitely a difficult time in the era of global disaster, but the Indian economy still remains very strong. I don’t wonder why the former finance minister chose to ignore the hard numbers and instead go ahead with ‘whataboutery’ as the Congress leadership has always adopted this ignorant approach and made it their weapon.
“Consistent reforms and strong fundamentals have ensured that India grew by 1.6 per cent in Q4 of FY 2020-21 from a contraction of 24.4% in the first quarter of FY 2020-21,” he said. On the issue of dismal forecast of the Indian economy by former Finance Minister Chidambaram, Thakur said, “You doubt the ability of Indian entrepreneurs, small businesses, traders and MSMEs to revive themselves while various international agencies finance India’s growth rate.” Projected to grow by 12.5% in 2021-22, making us the only major economy to grow projected double digits.
Minister of State for Finance Thakur asked the former Finance Minister, ‘Is the Indian economy an isolated island? Haven’t other major economies of the world faced GDP contraction in this pandemic? Don’t you know that France, Germany, Italy, UK have declined by 8.2%, 4.9%, 8.9% and 9.9% respectively. Canada, Russia, South Africa, America have also seen contraction in their GDP in the last one year. Despite disruptions in a globalized world, India remains resilient.
Anurag Thakur has asked the former finance minister to come out of the virtual world of his despair and doomsday predictions. At the same time, he said that the lockdown saved people’s lives, gradually unlocking gave the green signal to boost the economy. Anurag Thakur stressed that economic facts tell many points.
He said that the record GST collection of Rs 1.44 lakh crore is the highest ever. Also it confirms it. We registered growth in passenger vehicle sales, two wheeler sales, oil consumption, steel production, cement production, international air cargo among other sectors. High-frequency monthly core sector data also shows that a rebound was seen in 8 key industries.
growth in manufacturing
The index of eight core industries rose 11.4% in March 2021 and a staggering 56.1% in April 2021. The latest GDP data shows that the manufacturing sector grew by 6.9% in the January-March 2021 quarter, 14.5% in the construction sector, 27.3% and 32.7% in the steel and cement sector respectively in March 2021. It is worth noting that this increase is more than the pre-lockdown period of March 2020. Both the sectors grew by 400% and 549% in April 2021.
On the issue of cash transfer, which P. Chidambaram had claimed had not happened and should have been initiated, Thakur refuted them by stating the facts. He said during the NDA tenure 2014-19, the government disbursed Rs 8 lakh crore versus Rs 3.74 lakh crore on the purchase of wheat and rice during the UPA tenure 2009-14. In 2009-14, the Modi government bought 74 times more pulses at MSP than it had purchased during the UPA regime.
purchase of wheat
The NDA government procured 306.9 million tonnes of paddy and 162.7 million tonnes of wheat in the last 5 years, while only 176.8 million tonnes of paddy and 139.5 million tonnes of wheat were procured during the 2009-13 period under the UPA. Thakur said that the Congress party misled the farmers on the issue of agricultural laws and engaged in protests. Today the farmers are happy and here also the lies of Congress have been exposed.
India has recorded highest ever wheat procurement at 405 lakh LMT which is 4% higher than 390 LMT in RMS 2020-21. Paddy procurement touched a high of 789 LMT during KMS 2020-21. Apart from this, through DBT, as the 8th installment of PM Kisan, Rs 19,000 crore was directly transferred to the farmers’ account. Thakur further said, ‘Does this not give cash in hand to the farmer?’
Thakur asked P Chidambaram that on one hand he wanted cash transfer, but on the other how many bank accounts did the UPA open for the poor during his tenure? The Modi government has stopped leakages in the system by opening 42 crore Jan Dhan accounts to ensure that every rupee reaches the eligible beneficiary faster. It has even provided financial assistance to lakhs of people during the COVID19 pandemic through direct bank transfers.
He reminded the former finance minister, ‘Under NSAP, 24% contribution was made to widows, differently-abled, senior citizens, building and construction workers under BOCW, front loaded PM-Kisan for farmers, EPFO and Ujjwala. The total transfer is over Rs 68,000 crore. Is it not cash in hand?’
Question on MNREGA
Apart from this, Thakur questioned Chidambaram on the issue of MNREGA and asked, ‘Do you remember the allocation to MNREGA during UPA? The NDA government last year increased the allocation from Rs 61,500 crore to over Rs 1 lakh crore during the COVID-19 period. We also increased the wages to Rs 202, which has ensured a total of 300 crore man-days of work. Is it not cash in the hands of the workers?’
In a sequence, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur has given a befitting reply to former Finance Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram, while the UPA government disbursed bad loans during your tenure as Finance Minister. We have provided government guarantee of Rs 3 lakh crore through ECGLS scheme to the industry to sustain and revive their business, which includes MSME, Hospitality, Tourism, Sports Sector, Healthcare etc. The Modi government, unlike its predecessor UPA, has adopted a participatory and response approach. Over Rs 2.65 lakh crore has been sanctioned in over 92 lakh accounts through public and private sector banks, NBFCs, does this not provide cash flow for businesses?