New Delhi: The Indian economy was in a much worse state than believed when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government came to power, but the government decided not to bring out a tell-all white paper on the state of the economy to avoid further deepening the crisis even though it politically damaged the government, prime minister Narendra Modi said in an interview published on Monday.
“The state of the economy was much worse than expected. Things were terrible. Even the budget figures were suspicious," Modi said in an interview with Swarajya magazine as published on its website.
Modi came to power in 2014 alleging economic mismanagement by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. Modi, in the interview, said it was ironic that the economy worsened under an ‘economist’ prime minister (Manmohan Singh) and a ‘know-it-all’ finance minister (P. Chidambaram). He reminded that India was among the Fragile Five economies in 2014 and that experts believed that the ‘I’ in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) would collapse.
“Now, in the midst of this, imagine a white paper coming out, giving intricate details of the extent of damage. Instead of being a mollifier, it would have been a multiplier of the distress," Modi said.
The PM also said that his government tolerated a number of political allegations and accepted political damage, but ensured there was no damage to the country. “We accepted this uncomfortable truth and hit the ground running from the very first day to stabilise things so that the Indian economy can be strengthened for the long haul," he added.
On the controversy about job creation during the current government’s tenure, Modi said more than lack of jobs, the issue is lack of data on jobs. “Our opponents will naturally exploit this opportunity to paint a picture of their choice and blame us. I don’t blame our opponents for blaming us on the issue of jobs, after all no one has an accurate data on jobs. Our traditional matrix of measuring jobs is simply not good enough to measure new jobs in the new economy of New India," he added.