Kolkata: The economic slowdown in India preceded global meltdown due to stoppage of reforms by the UPA government, former union disinvestment minister Arun Shourie said on Monday.
“The seeds of slowdown in the country were sown since April 2008 while the global meltdown started since September,” Shourie said at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here on Monday.
Shourie, who was the disinvestment minister during the BJP-led NDA regime, said the slowdown in India is seen in specific sectors like textiles where lakhs of jobs were lost.
“This is because the UPA government did not continue with the reform process,” Shourie said.
He added there was no fiscal headroom which was needed for great stimulus package to boost the economy.
Shourie expressed fears that the fiscal deficit as a proportion to the GDP was likely to touch 13% to 14% in 2009-10.
Soon India’s sovereign ratings would become negative, Shourie said.
Asked what kind of stimuli was required for the economy, he said the companies and states should be rewarded for big infrastructure projects.
Asked whether the global recession had bottomed out, Shourie said, “It had not yet hit the bottom. The light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off”.
“Even the G-20 does not know where the bottom is,” Shourie said.
He said the next fiscal is already mortgaged due to the Pay Commission Recommendations and Debt Waiver Schemes implemented by the UPA government.