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Modi government handled economy better in COVID-19 pandemic than UPA did during global financial crisis: Sitharaman

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi [India], February 11 (ANI): The Indian economy is back on a faster and sustained recovery path as Prime Minister Narendra Modi government handled the crisis caused by COVID-19 in a more efficient manner than the UPA government did during the 2008-09 global financial crisis, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday.

Replying to the general discussion on Union Budget 2022-23 in the Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said India would be the fastest-growing major economy across the world in the coming at least three years.

Referring to the World Economic Outlook report published by the International Monetary Fund, Sitharaman said the Indian economy is projected to grow at 9 per cent in 2022 and 7.1 per cent in 2023. No other major economy in the world is projected to grow at such a faster pace.

On inflation, the Finance Minister said the Modi government has managed inflation efficiently despite huge disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sitharaman said the focus of the Union Budget 2022-23 is on increasing capital expenditure which would have a big multiplier effect on the economy.

She pointed out that every rupee spent on revenue expenditure has only multiplier effect of 45 paise in the year during it is spent and additional 10 paise in the following year, while every rupee spent on capital expenditure creates a multiplier effect of 2.45 rupees in the year it is spent and 3.40 rupees in the next year.

“We are spending public money for creating assets,” Sitharaman said.

Sitharaman rubbished the allegation labelled by some opposition members that the government has reduced the budget for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

“MGNREGA is a demand-driven programme. As and when there is demand through the supplementary demand for grants, we give the additional required amount,” she said.

The Finance Minister said the government has taken several steps for the welfare of farmers. “UPA Government had given away our rights to secure food procurement policy. If their 2013 agreement with WTO had been implemented, this country could not have procured rice from farmers from 2017. Today, they are asking what we are doing for farmers,” she said.

On support extended to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sitharaman said banks have sanctioned loans worth Rs 3.1 lakh crore under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the MSME sector.

“Those MSMEs who still want to benefit out of it are welcome to use it. The amount of loan sanctioned under the ECLGS is Rs 3.1 lakh crore and guarantee space is still Rs 1.4 lakh crore,” Sitharaman said. (ANI)

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