BJP MP Nishikant Dubey to set off debate on ‘White Paper’ in Lok Sabha

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New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey will set off the discussion on the ‘White Paper’, tabled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman comparing the economic management during 10 years of the Congress-led UPA government with that of 10 years of the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled dispensation, in Lok Sabha on Friday.

As per the List of Business in the Lower House for the day, the Union Finance Minister will move, “That this House do consider the White Paper on the Indian Economy and its impact on lives of the people of India”.

The nearly 60-page White Paper, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by Sitharaman on Thursday, says that the banking crisis was one of the most important and infamous legacies of the UPA government.

Sources said that the time allotted for the discussion is eight hours and depends. Stormy scenes are likely to be at play in the Lower House as both–the Treasury and Opposition benches– will trade barbs during the debate.

The White Paper said that the UPA government abandoned reforms after coming to power in 2004 and that it failed to build on the strong foundation laid by the previous BJP-led NDA government. It said the economy grew fast  between 2004 and 2008 largely due to the “lagged effects” of the reforms of the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“The UPA leadership, which seldom fails to take credit for the 1991 reforms, abandoned them after coming to power in 2004. Even as the country was standing at the cusp of emerging as a powerful economy, little was done by the UPA government to build upon the strong foundation laid by the previous NDA government….

“In the years between 2004 and 2008, the economy grew fast, thanks to the lagged effects of the reforms of the NDA government and favourable global conditions. The UPA government took credit for the high growth but did little to consolidate it. The failure to take advantage of the years of high growth to strengthen the budget position of the government and invest in infrastructure to boost future growth prospects stood exposed,” the White Paper said.
It accused the UPA government of political interference in the commercial lending decisions of public sector banks.

“The banking crisis was one of the most important and infamous legacies of the UPA government. When the Vajpayee-led NDA government took office, the Gross Non-Performing Assets (GNPA) ratio in Public Sector banks was 16.0 per cent, and when they left office, it was 7.8 per cent. In September 2013, this ratio, including restructured loans, had climbed to 12.3 per cent largely because of political interference by the UPA government in the commercial lending decisions of public sector banks. Worse, even that high percentage of bad debts was an underestimate.”

The White Paper said that there were scandals in defence which compromised defence preparedness and the government delayed the acquisition of weapons.

“In the UPA government, decision-making came to a standstill due to corruption and scandals in defence, compromising defence preparedness. The government delayed the acquisition of artillery and anti-aircraft guns, fighters, submarines, night fighting gear and a host of equipment upgrades,” the report said.

The White Paper also referred to the “coal scam”, saying allocation of coal blocks was done on “arbitrary basis”.
“The coal scam shook the conscience of the nation in 2014. Before 2014, the allocation of coal blocks was done on an arbitrary basis without following a transparent process to allocate the blocks. The coal sector was excluded from competition and transparency and the sector lacked investments and efficiencies. These actions were scrutinised by investigation agencies, and in 2014, the Supreme Court of India cancelled the allocation of 204 coal mines/blocks allocated since 1993,” the paper said.

It said controversies such as 2G spectrum scam, coal gate scam and the Common Wealth Games (CWG) reflected poorly on India’s image as an investment destination.

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