Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar has hit right back at former Finance Minister P Chidambaram's 'incompetent doctors' attack on the NDA government over the recently presented Union Budget and the state of the Indian economy.
While participating in the debate on the topic in Parliament, Chandrasekhar observed that Nirmala Sitharaman's first budget of the new decade was also the first to focus on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's objective of expanding the economy, and put forth that the previous ones were aimed at fixing what had been inherited.
"Budget 2020 is the first one to focus on the Prime Minister's objective of expanding the economy, after cleaning and rebuilding the economy in the last 5 years."
Remarking on some of the government's efforts, he held that new standards had been set on spending efficiency, integrity and direct benefit to the citizens.
In his Rajya Sabha address, Rajeev also responded to P Chidambaram's customary remarks on the budget - i.e. that the economy was a patient being treated by incompetent doctors - and reminded him about the economic condition in the 'UPA Dream-Team' era.
"Mr. Chidambaram wants us to forget his record," he said, adding, "The damage and corruption by the UPA government to the economy and the financial sector have been so deep that it has taken many years, and a lot of money to rebuild this loss while maintaining the fiscal stability."
Recalling the situation at the end of the UPA's term, he said, "The Congress government left the economy on the brink of collapse. With the average inflation at 10%, shattered govt finances, fiscal deficit of 5.3 per cent, and full-blown current account crisis. This was economic management under the UPA a decade ago. Under their (Congress) economic management, everyone suffered. The poor suffered from high inflation, the middle-class suffered from high taxes and the businessmen suffered from corruption. We converted a failing economy into the third-largest economy in the world," he added.
Responding to Chidambram's 'cyclical or structural slowdown?' question, the BJP MP stated that the government very well knows about the kind of slowdown it is facing. "The government does know about what kind of slowdown it is facing, and it is both cyclical and structural. There are disruptions in the global trade regime, which is a cyclical slowdown. Yes, we are facing structural issues because we are growing a from $1.9 trillion economy to $3.3 trillion economy. The structural issues are faced by every growing economy which is growing at the rate that we are, and they will be addressed by the government."
On Monday, Chidambaram had criticised the government's handling of the economy. "The patient is still being kept outside the ICU and being looked after by incompetent doctors. Every competent doctor that you have appointed has left the country," the former Finance Minister had said citing the departure of ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian. "Who are your doctors?, I want to know," he had asked.