A day after he criticised the BJP-led government’s poor handling of the economy in a stinging Op-ed in The Indian Express, former finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Thursday told news agency ANI that the government cannot blame the previous UPA regime for the country’s current dismal economic situation. “Hum isse pehli ki sarkaar ko dosh nahi de sakte kyunki humein pura mauka mila hai (We can’t blame the previous government because we also got the opportunity).”
Sinha also said that when he was the party’s spokesperson before 2014, they used to call the country’s economic situation under the UPA government as ‘policy paralysis’. “Before 2014, I was party spokesperson when it came to economic affairs, and we used to call UPA situation then ‘policy paralysis’,” he added. Also Read: ‘I need to speak up now’ by Yashwant Sinha
In a scathing Op-ed in the Indian Express on Wednesday, Yashwant Sinha slammed the Modi government saying ‘the economy is on a downward spiral’ and blamed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for “the mess the finance minister has made of the economy”. He wrote: “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.”
“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,” wrote Sinha.
Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram applauded Yashwant Sinha for “speaking truth to power” about the economy. He said it would be a “miracle” if the BJP-led government manages to turn around the economy before its term ends in 2019. Chidambaram said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take the responsibility for the economic decline even as he asked industry captains and others to speak up. Also Read: Yashwant Sinha speaking truth to power, will take miracle to turn around economy: Congress
“The government must bear responsibility and, as the head of the government, the Prime Minister must bear responsibility. Of course, as the minister in charge of the portfolio, the Finance Minister has to share a very, very large part of the blame,” Chidambaram added.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also took a shot at the government. “Ladies & Gentlemen, this is your copilot & FM speaking. Plz fasten your seat belts & take brace position. The wings have fallen off our plane,” Rahul had tweeted on Wednesday. Also Read: Yashwant Sinha slams Modi govt for poor economy, Congress lauds criticism; govt takes defensive stance
Senior Left leader D Raja also said the BJP-led government should take note of Yashwant Sinha’s article. “He is one of the senior leaders of the BJP. He is also the former Finance Minister. He knows how the economy functions. And he is not the first person, several economists have come out to say that the economy is in a bad shape, in shambles. Economic slowdown is a concern. But Prime Minister Modi keeps talking about development. There is neither job creation, nor economic growth. What is the development that he is talking about. I don’t know whether the government will take note of such opinions or simply dismiss everything and continue to live in their own make-believe world,” he said.