Yashwant Sinha sticks to stand on ‘worrying’ economy, spoke out as govt ‘silent’
India’s economic growth slid to a three-year low in the last quarter, prompting the Opposition to criticise the government for disrupting business activity through demonetisation.india Updated: Sep 28, 2017 17:11 IST
Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha said on Thursday he chose to speak out after the government remained silent over “worrying” GDP data, standing by his earlier criticism of the Centre over the handling of the economy.
India’s economic growth slid to a three-year low in the last quarter, prompting the Opposition to criticise the government for disrupting business activity through demonetisation. Gross domestic product grew 5.7% in April-June, its slowest pace since the January-March quarter 2014.
“We have all known for many days that the Indian economy has been seeing a decline... This process has been going for the past one-and-a-half years... Even then I kept silent.. The latest GDP figures came out and growth rate fell below 6% and the concerns grew deeper. The government didn’t say anything for over a week, then I felt that I should bring the issue to the public domain,” Sinha told ANI on Thursday.
Sinha, a veteran leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, earlier said poorly executed policy shifts had stalled growth. “Economies are destroyed more easily than they are built,” he wrote in The Indian Express on Wednesday.
Rejecting Sinha’s criticism, the government insisted the economy was the fastest growing in the world and some “uncertainty” is bound to occur when “transformative” measures like demonetisation and the GST are taken.
Sticking to his stand after the government’s remarks, Sinha said: “Demonetisation shouldn’t have been brought when economy was weak. Its effects were yet to subside and GST served as second big blow.”
After Sinha’s piece titled ‘I need to speak up now’ was published, railway minister Piyush Goyal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the “cleanest government” and had attacked black money and corruption like no one else has done.
Home minister Rajnath Singh said: “No one should forget it. Our image at the international level is very strong.”
Countering their remarks, Sinha told ANI on Thursday: “Maybe Rajnath Singh and Piyush Goyal know economy more than me, so they think India is the backbone of world’s economy. I politely disagree.”
“We can’t blame the government before us as we got the full chance,” he added.
Sinha told NDTV he had sought to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi a year ago, but was yet to hear back from his office about the appointment. “I had sought an appointment to meet the PM a year ago. He has not met me. Should I be sitting in protest outside his house,” Sinha said.
“No one is willing to listen to us in the government and the party,” he added.