New government must expose Chidambaram's lies on economy: Yashwant Sinha

  • Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 01, 2014 13:53 IST

Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha does not envisage the NDA scrapping or reversing FDI in retail while accusing P Chidambaram of a fiscal planning fraud.

Excerpts from an interview:

Would NDA overhaul the current government’s policies if it comes to power?
SEZ is a good concept but it is being used for illegal land acquisition. This must stop. A new telecom policy is also required. MGNREGA, NRHM and Rajiv Gandhi rural electrification must be overhauled for inherent design flaws. Pending projects worth Rs 15,000,000 crore must be pursued immediately and inflation tackled in a way that leaves scope for the RBI to cut rates.

Your party wants to scrap FDI in multi-brand retails.
We do not need to scrap or reverse the policy. The present policy is so defective that no MNC will come and invest. We have seen Delhi and Rajasthan governments take a U-turn on FDI. Will any MNC set up shop knowing that there is no certainty of business if a new government comes in?

What will be the fate of Goods and Services Tax Bill and Direct Tax Code Bill?
GST and DTC should be high on the next government’s agenda. They did not do their homework on GST.
Economists like Jagdeesh Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya seem willing to be part of the Modi government.
Bhagwati and Panagariya are highly renowned economists and will prove to be assets. Also, given the state of the economy and the challenges ahead, all available talents should be used.

P Chidambaram said the government made mistakes in 2010-11.
The real mistake happened in 2008-09 under PC’s watch when fiscal deficit shot from 2.5% to 6% in just one year. In real terms, additional expenses of Rs 2000,000 crore led to inflation and things went out of hand. PC always blamed Pranab Mukherjee, forgetting that he had enough scope to rectify the errors.

But has he been able to bring down the fiscal gap?
PC is trying to fool the country by saying the fiscal deficit has come down to 4.6%. It is a fraud. He savagely cut planned expense, milched the PSUs and postponed the subsidy expenses for the next year. In response to the global crisis he created a domestic crisis. He only gave Crocin to the ailing economy to bring down the temperature. He didn’t treat the disease. The new government must bring out a white paper on the economy to expose Chidambaram’s lies.

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