UPA should be blamed for slowdown in Indian economy: Shourie

March 30th, 2009 - 8:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Kolkata, March 30 (IANS) Claiming that the slowdown in the Indian economy had preceded the global meltdown, former union minister Arun Shourie Monday blamed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for precipitating the crisis by stopping reforms and wasting money on populist schemes.
“The reform process was stopped at the start of the UPA regime. This government indulged in wasteful expenditure on populist schemes,” said Shourie, who was the disinvestment minister in the previous National Democratic Alliance government.

“In April last year, much before the global economic crisis started, a union minister had gone on record saying that there were 2.5 million job losses in the textile sector,” he added.

Speaking at an interactive session on “Growth Path of Indian economy”, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here, Shourie, also a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, said the UPA “threw money out of the window”.

He warned that the “consequences of this year” were going to spill over to the next year. “The next fiscal is thus mortgaged. I see the light at the end of the tunnel switched off.”

Terming the government’s projection of 11 percent fiscal deficit as “gross underestimation”, he said: “Irrespective of whichever government came to power after the Lok Sabha polls, the deficit will be 13-14 percent of the Gross Domestic product (GDP).”

Opposing the UPA’s policy of trying to revive the economy through general stimulus packages, Shourie advocated a more micro-level target-specific booster doses.

“The crisis is sector-specific, location specific, firm specific and even profession specific. So, general stimulus will not work. There should be stimulus packages which are sector-specific, firm-specific, location-specific and even profession-specific,” he said.

Asked whether it would be proper to give stimulus to firms which have landed in a soup because of bad business decisions, Shourie said: “Satyam is a specific case. I’m not going into that. But generally speaking, the failure of a firm is also a blow to the national economy. So one should not look at that firm in islolation”.

He said the new government should take a four-pronged approach to tackle the situation - restoration of fiscal discipline, rectification of the problems in implementation, resumption of reforms and adoption of measures to strengthen the Indian economy’s viability, sustainability and competitiveness.

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