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Sitharaman hits back at Chidambaram over 'incompetent doctors' jibe

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday targeted Congress leader P Chidambaram for his remarks that 'incompetent doctors' in the government were managing the economy.

"Harsh truths will have to be heard," she said while comparing fiscal deficit and primary deficit figures during the UPA regime and during the BJP-led NDA government.

Replying to a debate on the Union Budget in Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said the fiscal deficit was 6.1 per cent in 2008-09, 6.6 per cent in 2009-10, 4.9 per cent in 2010-11, 4.9 per cent in 2012-13 and 4.5 per cent in 2013-14.

"When we talk of fiscal deficit, (we) understand the economy was managed by very competent doctors," she said.

Sitharaman had said in her Budget speech on February 1 that fiscal deficit was 3.8 per cent in 2019-20 and had been targeted at 3.5 per cent for 2020-21.

Referring to the primary deficit, she said it had been below one per cent during the Modi government but higher during the Congress-led UPA government.

"You could not come to one per cent, and could not think of coming below one per cent," said the Finance Minister.

On Monday, Chidambaram during his speech in Rajya Sabha had taken a jibe at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government over its handling of the economy, saying "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.


(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 11 2020. 14:29 IST