Jaitley defends Govt, slams Sinha

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Sep 2017 08:30:38



Says, Yeshwant Sinha has forgotten his record as Finance Minister and is commenting on persons rather than policies

BREAKING his silence on criticism by fellow party leader Yashwant Sinha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday hit back calling him a job applicant at 80 years who has forgotten his record as Finance Minister and is commenting on persons rather than policies.

At a book release function, Jaitley refrained from taking Sinha’s name but said he does not have the luxury as yet of being a former Finance Minister nor does he have the luxury of being a former Finance Minister who has turned a columnist.

The first reference was for Sinha and the second one for Chidambaram, who rode on the BJP leader’s criticism to assail Jaitley and the Government’s handling of the economy post demonetisation and transitionary impact caused by GST.

Being a former Finance Minister “I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis (during UPA-II). I can conveniently forget the 15 per cent NPAs of 1998 and 2002 (during Sinha’s term as Finance Minister). I can conveniently forget the USD 4 billion reserve left in 1991 and I can switch over and change the narrative,” he said.

Defending decisions like demonetisation, Jaitley further said, cleaning economic system was no small step or achievement. “There was no way in India you could do business without relying on alternate mechanisms of payment....It had corrupted us as a society and also had tarnished our image globally,” he said. Jaitley recalled the advice given to him by senior L K Advani when he spoke in Parliament in 1999 on the Bofors issue, of not making personal comments while speaking on issues.

He said he had some very distinguished predecessors including a former President (Pranab Mukherjee) and a former Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and the other predecessors have “decided to act in concert.”
“Because speaking on persons and then bypassing the issues is something which is very easily done,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sinha stuck to his guns after Govt’s strong rebuttal of his stinging criticism of its handling of the economy over which Union Minister Jayant Sinha also joined issue with his father and stoutly defended the economic policies. Jayant, in an article in a English daily, defended the Govt’s economic policies, saying several articles have been written on the challenges facing the Indian economy.
He said that the third generation of reforms “balances a better life for all Indians with the requirements of an advanced, sophisticated 21st century economy”.