Amid a debate over whether the government will miss the fiscal
consolidation road map in the current and next financial years, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
on Thursday said even minor fiscal
slippage by the Centre now invited criticism. He took on the previous United Progressive Alliance
(UPA) regime for letting the fiscal
deficit widen by a large margin.
“India under the UPA
had started losing credibility with large fiscal
slippages, while the (Narendra) Modi government
has brought down the 4.6 per cent fiscal
deficit inherited from the UPA
government. Even a minor fiscal
slippage draws flak now," he said while replying to a debate on the state of the economy
in the Rajya Sabha.
He said market had rewarded the fiscal
prudence of the National Democratic Alliance
government. The finance minister said there had been some impact on the economy
due to structural reforms such as the goods and services tax (GST) and demonetisation, but all macro parameters were showing an uptick in growth.
He said the government undertook structural reforms even as there was global weakness and back to back droughts.
It was the previous regimes which started structural reforms such as Aadhaar and the direct benefits transfer, but the Modi government
took them to a logical conclusion.
The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government
had announced the Kelkar committee
on GST, but the UPA
regime had set it up. “Now you (the Congress) talk in different languages on the GST in and outside Parliament. Outside Parliament, you talk of reducing rates, but in Parliament you talk of revenues,” he said.