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Published On: Wed, Sep 27th, 2017

Arun Jaitley has made a “mess” of the economy: Yeshwant Sinha

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yashwant-sinha-story_647_042517024555NEW DELHI : Former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha today came down heavily on current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for making Indian economy a mess. In an stinging article written in the Indian Express, Sinha said that Jaitley was lucky to have taken charge at a time when global business environment was favorable and depressed global crude oil prices placed at his disposal lakhs of crores of rupees. But, according to him, the oil profit has been wasted. “I am also convinced that what I am going to say reflects the sentiments of a large number of people in the BJP and elsewhere who are not speaking up out of fear,” he said.
The BJP leader termed the demonetisation as an unmitigated economic disaster and GST – a badly conceived and poorly implemented move that have played havoc with businesses. The GST was rolled out on July 1. The key macro-economic data revealed that after the launch of the new tax regime the country’s manufacturing output came down in July. Some reports suggest that the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was at its lowest mark in July since February 2009.
Yashwant Sinha said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has made a “mess” of the economy.

“Bluff and bluster is fine for the hustings, it evaporates in the face of reality. The Prime Minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His Finance Minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters.”

Reacting to the sucker-punch, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: “India’s record is well-known across the world. It is one of the fastest growing economies and its role is acknowledged well.” The Congress seized on the article to put out a series of I-told-you-so tweets, with Rahul Gandhi sneering: “Ladies & Gentlemen, this is your copilot & FM speaking. Plz fasten your seat belts & take brace position. The wings have fallen off our plane.”
Mr Sinha broadly paints a bleak picture of the economy: “Private investment has shrunk as never before in two decades, industrial production has all but collapsed, agriculture is in distress, construction industry, a big employer of the work force, is in the doldrums, the rest of the service sector is also in the slow lane, exports have dwindled, sector after sector of the economy is in distress, demonetisation has proved to be an unmitigated economic disaster, a badly conceived and poorly implemented GST has played havoc with businesses and sunk many of them and countless millions have lost their jobs with hardly any new opportunities coming the way of the new entrants to the labour market.”

Sinha explained as to how multiple portfolios for Jaitley has affected the economy. He said that it was not difficult to anticipate the reasons for current economic crisis and take counter measures to deal with them. “But that called for devoting time to the task, serious application of mind, understanding of the issues and then working out a game plan to tackle them. It was perhaps too much to expect from a person who was carrying the heavy burden of so many extra responsibilities,” Sinha said.

Leaving a message for the government, Sinha said that ‘economies are destroyed more easily than they are built’. According to him, the revival of the economy by the time of the next Lok Sabha election in 2019 is highly unlikely. Taking a dig at Prime Minister Modi, he said: “The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters.”

Sinha’s critical observation has come a day after the Prime Minister formed a five-member Economic Advisory Council to address the key challenged ahead of Indian economy. He isn’t the only BJP politician who has warned the government for the crisis. Earlier this month, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy also said that the economy was in a tailspin. Last year, he wrote a 16-page letter to the Prime Minister in which he said: “The economy is in its early phase of a tailspin. If curative measures are not taken then a major crash is inevitable.”
Sinha  expanded on his view that the economy will not recover by 2019 when the next national election is due. The only exception to his targeted missiles was Nitin Gadkari, the Minister for Road Transport and Water Resources. The government “did not try seriously” to remove the bottlenecks which had led to policy paralysis during the previous Congress-led UPA rule, he said.

Describing demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) as the “two major disruptions that have slowed down the economy”, Mr Sinha said GST – pitched as the biggest tax reform since independence – should have been implemented in October instead of July. “The government hurried through GST,” he said, sounding a lot like several opposition leaders.

Sinha said “The economic slowdown has had a negative impact on employment generation as well. It is making it difficult for the Modi government to create jobs as promised.” New private investments had not happened as expected, he added. “New private investments have not happened in the economy as was expected,” says Yashwant Sinha
Writing in the Indian Express today, Mr Sinha, the country’s former finance minister, indicted Mr Jaitley for making a “mess” of the economy, which, he says, owes its ruin partly to the hurried introduction of the national sales tax, the GST, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s shock ban last year of high-denomination notes. Mr Sinha warns that the rural distress which has farmers caught in debt, will worsen. “The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters,” says the veteran leader.

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