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Arun Jaitley on Yashwant Sinha: I don’t have the luxury of being a former finance minister

The Indian Express logoThe Indian Express 28-09-2017
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A day after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha slammed the Modi government in a stinging Op-ed in The Indian Express, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the government policies saying they are aimed at ending corruption. Refusing to respond to the charges made by Sinha, Jaitley said, “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 has turned a columnist.” He added, “Therefore I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis, 4 billion reserves left in 1991 and I can switch over and change a narrative. Speaking of persons and then bypassing the issues is something which is very easily done.

The minister also rejected the notion that the economy is on a downward spiral as suggested by Sinha. He mentioned the figures of tax collection to substantiate his claim of a strong economy. “Direct tax figures are 15.7% over and above last year’s figure, so this so-called slowdown visualized by some, hasn’t even impacted,” said Jaitley.

Talking about the criticism against demonetisation, Jaitley said that note ban targetted the shadow economy. “Demonetisation was to make sure that the anonymous tender which operated in market gets identified to its owner. The prime minister has a strong agenda on creating a new normal as far as country’s shadow economy was concerned,” said Jaitley at a book launch event.

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The minister added that the government is serious at checking the improper political funding. He added that illegtimate political funding has corrupted the society and tarnished the country’s image globally.

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.

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