Former union minister, Arun Shourie has likened demonetisation with suicide and slammed Narendra Modi government over sliding economic growth and increasing job losses. He also called the Modi government as “government of two-and-a-half persons”.
“This is a government by ‘ilhaam’ (revelation). The Prime Minister has the ‘ilhaam’ one night that demonetisation should be done and he does it. In any case, it was a bold step. I have to remind you suicide too is a bold step,” Shourie said in an interview to NDTV.
PM Modi declared demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on 8 November last year. “Which argument (offered by the government in defence of demonetisation) today survives? Black money? All of it turned white. Terrorism? Terrorists are still coming into India. At the end they have nothing to say,” he added.
Shourie also slammed BJP President Amit Shah, terming him as “that famous economist?” He said, ‘underscoring that official figure cannot be brushed under the carpet.” Shah had said that current slowdown is “due to technical reasons.” Shourie also said that those running the government do not ask for any advice or hear the facts.
“This is a government of two-and-a-half persons, that is, Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and one in-house lawyer. They don’t have the expertise and they have surrounded themselves by persons who don’t have the expertise. They are now in a sealed echo-chamber. They don’t hear what is happening. The distress the RBI has documented of the small and medium enterprise. These poor fellows had been clamouring and shouting. Nobody heard them,” he added.
He said people like Yashwant Sinha, P Chidambaram, and other economists have been “talking about facts”. “And those facts emerge from official reports such as The Economic Survey, the RBI surveys, the SBI’s report etc. Is it a fact or not that GDP has collapsed to 3.7 per cent according to the old series? Is it a fact or not that index of industrial production has gone down from about 9 per cent in 2015-16 to about 1.7 per cent in April to July? Is it not a matter of concern?” Shourie asked.
However, he admitted that regardless of all the red signals, there was little hope as “it all flows from the nature of the government.” He said the Modi government has a “sense of hustings”. “Their core competence is event management. They are so self-satisfied with it. They are just briefing each other, not listening to others… They are concerned about 300-feet statute, bullet trains etc,” he said.