Amid raging debate on the economy in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections between the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman yesterday tore into the Nehruvian economic model of Centralised Planning, which had been in practice till 2014 with the Planning commission at the helm. The BJP rechristened the erstwhile planning commission as Niti Aayog in January 2015.

Calling UPAs ten year rule between 2004 – 2014 a lost decade due to bad policies and massive corruption, Sitharaman said many of the centralised “one size fits all” solutions could not even be grounded and lacked monitoring.

“Endowments with which we could contribute to our economy, skills or families were stifled because of the way in which we ordered our economy. Plans from the Centre would go to all parts of the country. One size fits all solutions used to be given. Many of them could not even get grounded. There was not effective monitoring,” Sitharaman said addressing the Viksit Bharat Ambassador – Campus Dialogue at GITAM Deemed University at Vishakhapatnam.

“It was an economic model in which we thought, if you plan at the centre and let people do many things on the ground, gradually change will happen. But gradual change is something India cannot afford,” said Sitharaman.

Sitharaman went on to say that it was under duress and compulsion that it was decided to liberalise the Indian economy, which brought in resources from abroad triggering our abilities, but the enthusiasm soon “petered out” as despair set as people realised that opening too did not help India.

"Inspite of 1991, many things which could have happened at a great pace could not happen," she said adding that that it was only after 2014 that efforts to pull up the country were taken. "I say this with certain considered discretion. It is not like saying that the world did not exist before 2014. But the kind of emphasis that you needed to give towards pulling up this country with so much diversity and talent, but not so well channelled. So it is purposely that I peg it at 2014," Sitharaman said.

“I would like to remind you that prior to 2014, ten years were a completely lost decade. It was because of bad policies and because of looking the other way when massive corruption was happening. Economy has literally gone down from where it was in 2004,” said Sitharaman.

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