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White paper on economy

Context:

  • Recently Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented a white paper on the Indian economy in Parliament.
  • The document has been prepared by the Ministry of Finance.
  • The Document compares the 10-year record of economic governance under the Congress-led UPA governments (between 2004-05 and 2013-14) with the 10-year record of the BJP-led NDA governments (between 2014-15 and 2023-24).

What is meant by White Paper?

  • A white paper generally provides information about a specific issue.
  • For example government may present a white paper on black money to make people aware of the nature and scope of the problem and the possible ways to resolve it.
  • In this sense the document presented by Finance minister in Parliament is not exactly a white paper.
  • Because the document is a comparison between the record of two governments on a variety of economic parameters.
  • A comprehensive review of the state of the Indian economy as things stood in 2014, when the incumbent government first took charge of the country would have been a white paper on the economy.

Why is it being presented now?

  • The document explains the fact why the white paper is being presented at the end of 10 years instead of at the start.
  • It is stated that government refrained from bringing out a white paper on the poor state of affairs then.
  • The publication of document back in 2014 would have given a negative narrative and shaken the confidence of all, including investors.
  • The need of the hour was to give hope to the people, to attract investments, both domestic and global and to build support for the much-needed reforms which the document now provides for.

What is its objective?

There are broadly four stated objectives and they are:

  1. The document seeks to inform everyone of the nature and extent of governance, economic and fiscal crises that were bequeathed to the NDA government when it assumed office in 2014.
  2. The document also informs about “the policies and measures that (NDA) government took to restore the health of the economy” since 2014.
  3. The document also hopes to generate a wider, more informed debate on the paramountcy of national interest and fiscal responsibility in matters of governance over political expediency.”

Finally the document quotes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on last year’s Independence Day, “to commit ourselves to national development, with new inspirations, new consciousness, new resolutions, as the country opens up immense possibilities and opportunities.”

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