Demonetisation was not synonymous with confiscation of money, says Arun Jaitley

Sinha stung his party yesterday with an opinion piece titled "I Need To Speak Up Now" in which he demolished Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his handling of the economy, which fell to a three-year-low of 5.7 per cent in the last quarter.

When economists like (former PM) Manmohan Singh and (ex-Finance Minister) P. Chidambaram were saying this, they were sought to be dismissed as "crazy", and when the Sena and others questioned the government policies, they were dubbed as "traitors", the party said in scathing edits in "Saamana" and "Dopahar Ka Saamana".

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha further said that "We can not blame the previous governments as we got the full opportunity in our term". Going hard at Sinha, the finance minister referred to the book launch event he was speaking at and said, "Probably a more appropriate title for the book would have been "India @70, Modi @3.5 and a job applicant @80".

"I am not talking just based on one quarter's numbers, the economy has been falling for six straight quarters", said Sinha.

"No one is willing to listen to us in the government and the party", he said. "I may point out the 2000-2001 and 2002-2003 were the worst years since liberalisation in terms of growth and Prime Minister Vajpayee had then to force him out and replace him", he said. "Many other senior BJP leaders have strong resentment towards the failing state of the economy but can not say anything due to the fear of unknown dangers", it claimed. But this is the style of functioning of the finance ministry now.

"Demonetisation shouldn't have been brought when economy was weak, its effects were yet to subside and GST served as second big blow", he said.

Sinha further said that Jaitley was perceived as "brilliant" and that made him get corporate affairs as well as defence portfolios in the beginning.

In a statement issued on Thursday, FICCI said the introduction of GST was a major step towards the modernisation and integration of the Indian economy.

Being a former finance minister "I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis (during UPA-2)".

On being asked about whether he supports the idea of a fiscal stimulus to boost the economy, he said that he was against the idea as widening the fiscal deficit to boost government spending would have "unintended consequences" on the economy, adding that fiscal discipline was paramount for the economy.

In his own op-ed in the Times of India, Jayant Sinha writes: "The new economy that is being created will be much more transparent, globally cost-competitive, and innovation driven. Will Power now admit the Truth that economy is sinking?" He said: "A streamlined, rules based FDI regime is inspiring confidence: FDI has accelerated from $36 billion in FY2014 to $60 billion in FY2017".

  • Rogelio Becker