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Published On: Thu, Sep 28th, 2017

Yashwant Sinha sticks to his guns despite son Jayant being fielded against him

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yashwant-sinha-6NEW DELHI : The BJP-led Union government’s hopes that a rebuttal to former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha’s hard-hitting editorial on the state of the economy by his son, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha in another editorial would close the chapter on the incident were belied on Thursday morning as the senior Sinha stuck to his guns and reiterated his position.

Speaking to a TV channels at his residence in Noida, Mr. Sinha stood by what he had written about the state of the economy in an editorial in The Indian Express on Wednesday morning. “Before 2014, I was the party [BJP) spokesperson when it came to economic affairs. We used to call then United Progressive Alliance [UPA] government situation ‘Policy Paralysis’.
This government is not paralysed as many decisions are being taken. But, there is confusion in the government that development can be done through welfare schemes, which is not right,” he said to news agency ANI.He said that for a long time the Indian economy was falling and everybody was concerned. “When the government didn’t act, then I thought I should take this issue into public domain.”

Responding to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s comments on Wednesday, saying that India was one of the fastest growing economies of the world, he said, “maybe Rajnath Singh and Piyush Goyal know the economy better so they think India is the backbone of the world economy. I politely disagree.”
When asked about his son’s editorial in the Times of India on Thursday being seen as a rebuttal of his own position by Republic TV, Mr. Yashwant Sinha said, “There is no family feud over this. I haven’t spoken to him recently. So I don’t know whether he was asked to write this or he wrote it on his own. In any case it is a demonstration that he is being trusted to put forward the government’s view on policy. Well and good, then why was he removed from the Finance Ministry.”

His own prescriptions for the recovery of the Indian economy, he said, was to start from strengthening the banking system and weeding out the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs). “Apart from everything else, the first and foremost goal of the government is to strengthen the banks, but we are awaiting actions in this regard,” he said.
In a TV Interview Yashwant Sinha, BJP veteran, today told  that “the easiest and cheapest” response to his hardcore criticism of the government’s handling of the economy is to attribute it to the ranting of a frustrated man benched by his party. He also said that if his son, Jayant Sinha, who is a union minister, was asked to write an opinion piece today defending the government, “It is a cheap trick to turn a son against his father.” The 84-year-old said that’s what journalists have reported to him. “He is doing his dharma, I am doing mine”: the former Finance Minister said about their opposing takes on the economy.

Yesterday, Yashwant Sinha uncapped his pen and took apart Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s decisions in an opinion piece in which he described the economy as a “mess” that will not resuscitate before the next general election. He told to a TV Channel  today that he does not believe Arun Jaitley should resign, but that the need of the hour is for the government to take stock “within the next 15 days” of stalled projects in which crores are tied up, and “decide which ones to cancel and which should move forward.” Critics have said that his assessment deliberately avoids indicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He, was, however, clear that “the buck stops with the Finance Minister”.

He also said that those who may share his concerns within the BJP are afraid to speak up because they are worried they will not be re-nominated as candidates for the next election, now just two years away. As for himself, he said, he opted out of electoral politics in 2014 by informing then party president Rajnath Singh that he would not run for parliament. So those who claim he is irascible because his political ambitions have been thwarted by an unfriendly PM are wrong, he said.

“I am saying this without any bitterness,” he said, clarifying that he remains with the BJP – he said he made it a point to renew his membership – and “the party has also not thrown me out yet.” He also refused to accept what ministers have claimed – that the last quarter’s 5.7% economic growth, the poorest in three years, is a temporary setback. Important reforms have been introduced, he conceded.

His son’s article today refers to them as essential in the creation of a sophisticated, 21st-century economy, but “their sequencing is wrong,” Yashwant Sinha said. He cited the introduction of the National Service Tax or GST after the shock of last November’s notes-ban as evidence.

“Demonetisation came when the economy was already declining,” he said about the PM’s sudden banning of high-denomination notes. “It was hardly the right time for massive disruption of the economy. When demonetisation was done, it was well known that government was working on GST…everyone familiar with subject would have known that GST would be another big disruptor of the economy. Sequencing has been wrong, they have come in close succession of each other.”

In response to the forecast that both reforms will help make big gains in the future, he said, “Whatever merit there may be in the long term, there is lots of pain a

hhhhhhhFinance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that with the demonetisation exercise in November 2016, the government had intended to expose the black money market and track down those operating in it. “Demonetisation was not synonymous with confiscation of money,” Jaitley said at the launch of the book India@70 Modi @3.5. “We gave people an opportunity to come clean about their accounts held abroad. The prime minister had a very strong agenda on creating a new normal as far as the shadow economy in India was concerned.”

His comments came a day after senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha criticised him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mismanaging the economy. At the event on Thursday, Jaitley said he did not have the “luxury of being a former finance minister”, referring to Sinha. “I must confess that I do not have the luxury as yet of being a former finance minister. Nor do I have the luxury of being a former finance minister who’s turned a columnist,” he said.
On Wednesday, in an article in The Indian Express, Yashwant Sinha had criticised the government for the decline in India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate and described the Centre’s demonetisation drive as “an unmitigated economic disaster”. The former finance minister had said that despite low global oil prices, Jaitley had failed to use the extra finances to revive the economy.

His son, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, on Thursday dismissed articles “drawing sweeping conclusions” on the Centre’s economic decisions. nd disruption in the short term.”


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