Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday flagged concerns about “policy diversions” hampering the country from realising its potential growth levels to ensure welfare of all.
Delivering the 8th National Commission of Minorities (NCM) lecture on ‘Economic Empowerment of Minorities’, he said the extent of maturity the country is able to display in “marginalising” such diversions would eventually determine the environment for a prosperous India where there is harmonious relationship in society and growth for all.
“Today we are passing through a phase where our growth levels are significantly increasing… We are a functional democracy, but we are also a reasonably noise democracy. And therefore, whereas the principal agenda has to be to ensure the welfare of all, diversions do come up and some of them are extremely unpleasant diversions,” said the finance minister.
He quoted Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s report on the deprived state of Muslims in West Bengal to attack the economic policies followed by the Left parties and the Mamata Banerjee government.
Minority affairs minister Najma Heptullah said the TMC government talks about “no discrimination” and secularism, but the “living conditions of Muslims in Gujarat is much better than in West Bengal”.
“Why is it that in a state like West Bengal, which has otherwise seen political stability since Independence, except for the brief period between 1967-71 and has a sizeable minority population, living conditions are far less than even adequate?,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley said West Bengal continues to remain a revenue deficit state, despite the benefits of post-1991 economic liberalization felt elsewhere in the country. One reason for that is the economic model followed by the state where “growth levels were not fast enough”.