Will power admit the truth? Chidambaram on Yashwant Sinha's attack on Arun Jaitley's economic 'mess'

Congress leader P Chidambaram said BJP's Yashwant Sinha was speaking the truth. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 27, 2017, 06.27 AM (IST)

Senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram has asked the BJP government to respond to their senior party leader Yashwant Sinha's scathing attack on the central government's economic policies, particularly the "mess" that finance minister Arun Jaitley had made of the economy.

In an opinion piece in the Indian Express, Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister, criticised his own government for sinking economy. The senior BJP leader said he would "fail in my national duty if I did not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister has made of the economy."

Yashwant Sinha pointed out that the growth rate of 5.7 per cent was actually 3.7 per cent or less by the old method of calculation. He attributed the misleading growth rate to the government's decision to change the methodology for calculation of the GDP  in 2015 as a result of which the growth rate recorded earlier increased statistically by over 200 basis points on an annual basis. 

In a series of Twitter posts, Chidambaram asked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government to admit that Yashwant Sinha was speaking the truth.

"Will Power now admit the Truth that economy is sinking?" the former finance minister wrote. 

 

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In the opinion piece titled "I need to speak up now", Yashwant Sinha also called PM Modi's demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes an "unmitigated economic disaster". He also said the recently-introduced Goods and Services Tax (GST) was a "badly conceived and poorly implemented" havoc.

He said the economy was on a downward spiral and many in the BJP did not dare to speak up out of fear.

"Arun Jaitley is considered to be the best and the brightest in this government. It was a foregone conclusion before the 2014 elections that he would be the finance minister in the new government."

Citing the State Bank of India, Yashwant Sinha said BJP president Amit Shah had wrongly attributed 'technical' reasons for the slowdown in the GDP growth rate.

"Even the SBI, the largest public sector bank of the country, has stated with an unusual frankness that the slowdown is not transient or 'technical', it is here to stay and the slowdown in demand has only aggravated the situation. It has openly contradicted what the BJP president said just a few days ago that the slowdown in the last quarter was on account of "technical" reasons and will be corrected soon," he said.

The figures of the first quarter of fiscal 2017-18, released last month, the GDP growth rate was 5.7 per cent  as compared to 7.6 per cent  in the concurrent period last year.

In his article, Yashwant Sinha also took a jibe at raids conducted by Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation and said that it has become "a new game to instill fear in the minds of people," adding, "We protested against raid raj when we were in opposition. Today it has become the order of the day."

He also ridiculed the "massive" loan waivers given to the farmers "varying from one paise to a few rupees."

Sinha concluded his article by saying, "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."