Credit for 5.7% GDP growth should go to UPA government, says P Chidambaram
New Delhi: Taking credit for the uptick in domestic economy, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said the 5.7% growth in the first quarter vindicates UPA government's projection that revival would take place in the beginning of 2014-15 as a result of measures taken in the previous fiscal.
"The GDP data for the first quarter of 2014-15 was released yesterday and the Congress party and I are naturally very pleased.
"The 5.7% growth rate vindicates our position that the decline in economic growth had been halted in the middle of 2013-14 as well as our forecast that the upturn will take place in the beginning of 2014-15," he said in a statement.
Observing that the first quarter is the period between April and June 2014, he said it was the UPA government that was in charge until May 26, 2014.
"We are therefore legitimately entitled to take credit for the revival of the economy, although much more remains to be done," he said.
Chidambaram exuded confidence that economic growth could exceed 5.5% in the current fiscal if the government of the day follows the policies of UPA government.
"I am glad that the Ministry of Finance has acknowledged that the data was broadly on expected lines. If the NDA government builds on the foundations laid by the UPA government, I am confident that the economy will grow at over 5.5% in 2014-15," he added.
A number of steps were taken by the UPA government to revive manufacturing (reduction of excise duty), electricity (coal linkages) and mining sectors, he said.
Besides, a number of reforms were undertaken in the financial services sector, he said, adding that these are the lead performing sectors of the economy as per the latest CSO data.
Improved performance of mining, manufacturing and services sectors pushed the country's economic growth rate to two-and-half year high in the first quarter of 2014-15.
The previous high of GDP growth rate was recorded at 6% in the October-December quarter of 2011-12.
Chidambaram expressed hope that GDP data would be higher than 4.7% for 2013-14 as it would be revised upward.
"I wish to recall my statement of May 30, 2014 where I had pointed out that the growth rates for Q1 and Q2 of 2013-14 had been revised upward from the earlier estimates.
"I remain hopeful that the growth rates for Q3 and Q4 of 2013-14 will also be revised upward," he said.
According to the data of Central Statistics Office (CSO), the manufacturing sector recorded a growth of 3.5% in Q1, 2014-15 as against a contraction of 1.2% in Q1, 2013-14.
The mining sector too grew by 2.1% in Q1, compared to a decline in production by 3.9% in the year-ago period.
The highest growth rate during Q1, 2014-15 was recorded by financial services sector at 10.4%, followed by electricity, gas and water supply at 10.2%.