FM fudged Budget figures to hide real deficit, says Yashwant Sinha

Mumbai: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Sunday accused Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of “fudging” budget numbers to conceal the real fiscal deficit.

Speaking at the Mumbai Lit Fest, Sinha, a former finance minister himself, alleged Sitharaman relied on estimates used in the interim budget of February 1, though the CAG had later provided revised estimates till July 5, when the annual budget was presented.

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The FM, in response to similar objections earlier, had claimed that every figure in the Budget was authentic. “She used revised estimates....because the revenue receipts had declined so consi­derably that she wouldn’t have claimed that fiscal deficit would be only 3.3 per cent or whatever that claim was,” Sinha said, adding, “She fudged the figures and it was so blatantly obvious that the figures were fudged.”

He had called up a few MPs highlighting the discrepancy, but none of them took it up in the House, he said. The bureaucrat-turned-politician said the country was in a “mess”, which was far more serious than what was ima­gined six months ago, and exten­ded beyond the economy.