The Modi government’s White Paper on the Indian economy, which slammed the Congress-led UPA government for “its political misadventures”, is nothing more than a political statement, says a key advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“It is pure politics. The Manmohan Singh government presided over a period in which the Indian economy grew with an economic growth rate of 8 to 9 percent. In 2007, India achieved its highest GDP growth rate of 9 percent cent and became the second fastest country. “The world’s leading growing economy,” Sanjaya Baru, political commentator and policy analyst, told this journalist.
Baru, who was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s media advisor and chief spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) from May 2004 to August 2008, said: “Any professional economist would attest to the fact that India grew at a very high pace, witnessing the most pronounced fall in poverty and unprecedented growth in exports. Of course, it is the prerogative of the government in power to make pure politics, which is what this White Paper is.”
In April 2014, Penguin India published The Accidental Prime Minister, Baru’s tell-all memoir about his time in the PMO. In it, Baru alleges that the economist PM was completely subordinate to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who wielded significant influence in the functioning of the Singh administration, including the PMO itself. The book sparked controversy and the office officially denounced it as “fiction.” Barú has maintained that he set out to show an empathetic portrait of the prime minister.
According to Baru, it is a fact that between 1980 and 2000, India grew at 5.5 percent, but took off after 2000 at 8 percent, when decade-long economic reforms began to bear fruit.
“There may have been mistakes, all governments do. But to say that Manmohan Singh’s 10-year rule was years of economic crisis and mismanagement, fiscal management crisis, industrial policy crisis, banking crisis, which pushed the country to the status of five fragile economies, is totally incorrect,” Baru said.
BJP state units across the country will highlight details of the “Economy White Paper” – for the first time in Independent India – highlighting “what went wrong in the economy during the 10 years of the UPA and the efforts made by the Modi government to get it back on track.”
It is expected to be an important statement in the general election campaign, which is already underway in many parts of the country.