New Delhi: Government on Tuesday slammed the previous UPA regime saying it has left the country in a shambles with low growth and "elevated" poverty and vowed to resurrect the economy with a strong Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also sought to allay apprehensions on account of treatment to minorities saying his government will have a "compassionate" and non-discriminatory" approach and will take "strongest" steps to ensure social harmony and national security.
Intervening during debate on Motion of Thanks on the President's address, he said NDA has come to power riding on "high expectations" of people which has put greater "burden" on the government to perform.
Quoting Modi's oft-repeated statement that participation of states was important for country's growth, he said the government will take states along and address their issues. The government will work for pushing the country's growth which has been stuck at the "disappointing" level of less than five per cent for the last two years.
"Election results itself have become an important political statement. Once again domestic and foreign investors have started looking at India. Therefore, for us, who are the repository of public confidence, the onus is on us whether we can convert this into opportunity or not," he said.
Targeting the former UPA government, Jaitley said that it had passed on to the new dispensation an economy of low growth, high inflation, high fiscal deficit and low tax collection. He suggested that the current situation of the country was mostly because the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not "tough" when situation so warranted including 2G and coal block allocation issues.
"The enthusiasm in Indian economy was shattered. Domestic investors were moving out. If there is no investment, there is no job. You have left the country, in your own words, not at poverty alleviation, but at elevated poverty," Jaitley said.
"In 2004, when you came into power, you had inherited 8.5 per cent growth from NDA. What did we inherit? For the last two years, India's growth has been less than five per cent. It is a disappointing figure...You left the country with low economic growth," Jaitley said.
Describing the UPA rule as an era of "missed opportunity", he refereed to specific sectors and said the Railways had hardly seen any improvement and so was the case with highways, rural infrastructure, ports and airports.
"We have major challenges...reviving the national economy. Manufacturing growth gone into negative...Where are jobs?," Jaitley said, adding that this was the last opportunity to make India a low-cost manufacturing hub. Jaitley questioned the contention of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad that the agenda outlined by NDA government was 90 per cent of the work done by the previous government.
To a point made by a member about anti-corruption ACT, he criticised the rules framed on this by the UPA government. "I think all these things that you have done, have now to be undone and the spirit of that law which this Parliament has enacted will have to be given full effect very soon," he said.