Reforms, spending cut helped avert Greece-like crisis: Piyush Goyal

Kolkata, July 3 (IANS) India could have faced a financial crisis like Greece’s had the central government not taken steps to cut down on unwanted expenditure and introduce extensive reforms, union Minister of Coal, Power and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said here on Friday.

“What we are seeing in Greece might have happened to India if the fiscal expenditure had gone unchecked,” he said at an event orgnaised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

The minister said while the Vajpayee government undertook structural reforms during the late ’90s and early 2000s, the Narendra Modi government continued those as well as introduced further reforms.

“We had current account surplus in forex (foreign exchange) for three years when the tenure of the Vajpayee government ended (in May 2004),” the union minister said.

Praising the NDA government’s initiatives that resulted in a forex reserve of $129 billion and a forex debt of $130 billion, he blamed the earlier Manmohan Singh-led UPA government of taking the forex debt to $432 billion during 2012.

“This shows how a strong economy can be ruined in ten years,” Goyal said while taking a dig at the then UPA government.

He said while the bank rate during the Vajpayee government stood at 12.01 percent, it declined to 5.7 percent during 2012 under the Manmohan Singh government.

Goyal said the Modi government ushered in reforms that resulted in a “change in the mindset” in the country, which in turn helped the central government to narrow down unwanted expenditure, prevent leakages and bring in “more transparency” into the economy.

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