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White Paper in the Economy, Objectives, Key Claims and Findings

Context: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented a “white paper” on the Indian economy in Parliament.

About White Paper in the Economy

  • A white paper is a detailed report or guide designed to inform readers concisely about a complex issue and present the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter.
  • It is aimed at helping readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.
  • White papers are often used in government, business-to-business (B2B) marketing, and technology sectors.

In Governmental Context

  • A government may present a white paper to make people aware of the nature and scope of the problem and the possible ways to resolve it.

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Nature of the Document 

  • While termed as a white paper, it deviates from the traditional definition, which typically focuses on a specific issue. Instead, it compares economic records of two governments.
  • Its presentation at the end of the NDA’s tenure is explained as a strategic decision to avoid negative narratives earlier and to maintain confidence among investors.

 Objectives of the White Paper 

  • The document outlines four primary objectives:
    1. Informing about the economic and fiscal challenges inherited by the NDA government from the UPA.
    2. Highlighting the policies and measures undertaken by the NDA to revive the economy.
    3. Stimulating a broader debate on the importance of national interest and fiscal responsibility in governance.
    4. Aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for national development and progress.

Contents of the White Paper 

  • The white paper comprises three main sections:
    1. Discussion on the macroeconomic situation during the UPA rule, emphasizing issues like high inflation, fiscal deficit, and policy paralysis.
    2. Examination of corruption scandals under the UPA regime.
    3. Showcase of the NDA’s efforts in revitalizing the economy, including achievements in sectors like infrastructure, healthcare, and defense.

Main Sections of the White Paper

  1. Macroeconomic Situation under UPA Rule:
    • Highlights economic challenges during UPA’s tenure.
    • Criticizes UPA for abandoning reforms.
    • Points out high inflation, fiscal deficit, and bad loans in the banking system.
  2. Corruption Scams under UPA:
    • Discusses corruption scandals during UPA’s tenure.
    • Highlights non-transparent auctions and retrospective taxation.
  3. Economic Turnaround under NDA:
    • Shows improvements under NDA governance.
    • Uses data to demonstrate achievements such as lower inflation and successful implementation of schemes like toilet construction and bank account openings.

Key Claims and Findings 

  • The paper asserts that the UPA government, despite inheriting a robust economy, failed to sustain growth due to policy paralysis and misadventures.
  • It highlights the NDA’s accomplishments, such as lower inflation rates and successful implementation of various schemes.
  • However, critics argue that the paper overlooks critical issues like unemployment, poverty measurement, and the delay in conducting the decadal Census.

 Analysis and Critique 

  • While the white paper presents certain achievements of the NDA government, it lacks a comprehensive analysis of the economy over the two decades.
  • Critics point out the absence of key indicators like unemployment rates and GDP growth charts, which are crucial for assessing the overall economic performance.
  • The paper’s selective focus raises questions about its impartiality and completeness in presenting the economic narrative.

 Conclusion 

  • The white paper on the Indian economy serves as a platform for evaluating the contrasting economic policies and outcomes of the UPA and NDA governments.
  • However, its limitations, including selective data presentation and omission of critical indicators, call for a nuanced interpretation and further analysis to gauge the true state of the economy.

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White Paper in the Economy FAQs

What is white paper in economy?

The document, which has been prepared by the Ministry of Finance, essentially 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 black paper in Parliament?

The Congress released a "black paper" to highlight the "failures" of the Modi government, alleging that the last 10 years were a period of "injustice" with issues such as rising prices, unemployment, subversion of institutions and "discrimination" against non-BJP states plaguing the country.

What is the difference between White Paper and black paper?

'White Paper' vs 'Black Paper' politics is the talk of the last week of the 2024 Budget Session. A "White Paper" comparing the economic conditions under the UPA with the current government is being presented. Congress, on the other hand, has created "Black paper" in opposition to the current administration.

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