Taking a swipe at Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, Union Minister of Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal Friday said although he’s proud that an Indian has been awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, he does not agree with Banerjee’s ideas because “his thinking is totally Left-leaning” and “people of India have totally rejected his thinking”.
At a press conference, when he was asked about criticism of the government’s handling of the economy by Banerjee and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Goyal rejected their evaluations: “Abhijit Banerjee has recently got the Nobel Prize and I congratulate him. Lekin unki samajh ke baare mein to aap sab jaante hain (You all know about his understanding). His thinking is totally Left-leaning. He had supported the NYAY scheme (an electoral promise of the Congress during the Lok Sabha polls) and had praised NYAY heavily. People of India have totally rejected his thinking.”
“I am proud that an Indian has got the Nobel Prize, but it’s not necessary that I should agree with his ideas. Especially when the people of this country rejected his suggestion, I think we don’t need to accept his ideas,” he said.
On Manmohan Singh’s criticism of the way the economy was being handled, he said: “I am surprised that Manmohan Singh, who is an economist of great stature, did not see the dire straits in which he had left the economy in 2014, and how the Centre and state governments have turned it around.”
Listing scandals which he said happened under Singh’s watch — from telecom to coal to irrigation scams — Goyal said: “When all these scams were unfolding before his eyes, he had only one answer: ‘These are compulsions of coalition politics’. What a shameful thing for a Prime Minister to speak about coalition politics to save his government when he should have acted in the national interest and in the interest of the people.”
To another question on the transfer of RBI reserves of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to government, Goyal said the decision was not taken by the government but by a committee headed by a former RBI Governor.
“We didn’t have to take it. The money was lying with RBI without any purpose (bebuniyaad). There was a committee with former Governor Bimal Jalan, former Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan and other experts which decided in favour of the transfer. And I must tell you we too understand economy a little bit. Although I don’t know as much as Manmohan Singh, I also know little bit. Today RBI has total reserves of about 10-11 lakh crore. I have studied this issue in detail and hence I can tell you that there’s no purpose to keep 10-11 lakh reserves with the RBI. The reserves are disproportionately high to the bank’s balance sheet. And there’s very little possibility that the RBI would need that money,” he said.