Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday targeted the UPA over its management of the economy during its rule and said NDA government had inherited India as part of “fragile five” and it has since become one of the fastest-growing economies.
Replying to the debate on Finance Bill, 2021, in Rajya Sabha, she referred to the government’s thrust on infrastructure spending, saying that it has immediate impact on job creation.
“When money is spent on infrastructure, it has an immediate impact on job creation and when job creation happens, money goes into the hands of the people in the form of wages and that is going to improve the demand side,” she said.
The minister said data on GDP growth, manufacturing growth, inflation, fiscal deficit, forex reserves, FDI all show better performance in 2014-19 than in 2009-14
“This government inherited India as part of fragile five. India has since become one of the fastest-growing economies. The steps taken after the 2008 financial crisis resulted in the taper tantrum and double-digit inflation,” she said.
The minister said GST compensation had already been completely paid to states and UTs for 2017-18.
“So is the case for 2018-19 and 2019-20 as per the GST Compensation Act 2017. Prior to COVID, every compensation due for all the states has been cleared,” she said.
The minister said customs duty has been increased on some items to encourage domestic MSMEs that can produce these items themselves and because a lot of the imports were of poor quality.
“The taxes have been raised only on final items which are available in India,” she said.
She also slammed the West Bengal government and said the state government didn’t give names of farmers who would have benefitted under PM Kisan Yojana.
Speaking a few sentences in Bengali in an apparent reply to a speech made by a TMC MP, she also said the West Bengal government had refused to implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme in the state.
Trinamool Congress members protested on her remarks and said she was misleading the House.
The contest in West Bengal elections apparently got reflected in the proceedings of the House as Trinamool Congress MP Dola Sen slammed budget proposals and said “lajja, lajja”.
Sitharaman hit back with the same words in her remarks. Amid the din in the House, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh urged the minister to conclude her speech.
The House later returned the bill which was earlier passed by Lok Sabha.
The bill gives effect to the financial proposals of the central government for the financial year 2021-22.
The passage of the Finance Bill by Parliament marks the completion of the budgetary process.
The minister said the changes have been made largely to boost ease of doing business and easing compliance burden.