Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday hit back at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for stating that the NDA government’s developmental expenditure was higher than that under the UPA regime, asserting that as a proportion, social services expenditure had plummeted after 2014-15.
Citing the Reserve Bank of India data, Sitharaman’s office had tweeted on Saturday that the total developmental expenditure incurred by the Modi government in 2014-22 was Rs 90.9 lakh crore, far higher than what was being alleged by some sections of the Opposition.
In contrast, only Rs 49.2 lakh crore was spent for the purpose from 2004-14, the tweet read.
Taking objection to her remarks, Chidambaram stated, “Regrettably, the FM thinks that the average Indian has below-average intelligence in understanding numbers relating to finances.”
On the figures quoted by Sitharaman, he said, “The finance minister’s arithmetic is correct but her mathematical conclusion is wrong.”
“The size of the Budget is bigger every year. Total expenditure is bigger every year. Developmental expenditure or social services expenditure will also be bigger every year!,” the former finance minister said in a series of tweets.
The correct mathematical analysis will require the finance minister to compare the “proportion’ of any head of expenditure to total expenditure, he pointed out.
“Such a comparison will reveal that, as a proportion, social services expenditure has plummeted after 2014-15,” he said.
Substantiating his claim, the Congress leader wrote “The FM’s numbers are in the RBI’s Handbook of Statistics. It will show that the proportion has fallen from an average of 9% of total expenditure under UPA to an average of 5% of total expenditure under NDA.”