Denying allegations of non-transparency in budgetary numbers, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the Modi government’s Budget was “clear and transparent” while indicating that numbers were doubtful during the UPA rule.
Her statement came after Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that the major numbers in this year’s Budget were “suspect”.
In her reply to the debate on the Union Budget 2021-22, Sitharaman said: “What you get as Budget is what you get in it. No pushing anything under the carpet…”
She highlighted instances in the 2007-08 Budget, saying those numbers were “suspect”.
“I will give three concrete proofs of how accounts were suspect. I can give you clear proof of how data became suspect at times, which did not occur under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” she said, alluding to the UPA rule.
Sitharaman suggested that a 60 percent jump in 2007-08 Capex numbers also included a Rs 40,000 crore financially neutral deal involving the RBI and SBI.
She said that if the Rs 40,000 crore is removed, the actual capex growth that year would come to around 7 percent. She stressed that 34.5 percent growth in Capex this year is the highest-ever.
The Finance Minister also attacked the opposition over its claims that the Centre works for the benefit of ‘crony capitalists’.
Outlining several schemes including MGNREGA scheme and PMAY among others, she said that all these government initiatives were aimed at the poor rather than the rich.
“A false narrative is being created,” she said over accusations that the government was only for the rich and crony capitalists.