Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha hit back at union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s “job seeker at 80” remark saying the former wouldn’t have a job if that were true. “If I were a job applicant, he (Arun Jaitley) would not be there in the first place,” Sinha said.
Jaitley had said he does not have the luxury of being a former finance minister hitting back at Sinha’s scathing criticism of economy in a leading newspaper.
“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 $4 billion reserve left in 1991 and I can switch over and change the narrative,” he said attacking both Sinha and predecessor P Chidambaram.
“Acting in tandem itself won’t change the facts,” he added. “Probably, a more appropriate title for the book would have been ‘India @70, Modi @3.5 and a job applicant @ 80,” he said, at the release of the book titled India @70 Modi @3.5.
Sinha had, in the Indian Express on Wednesday wrote that he would fail in his national duty if he didn’t speak against “the mess the finance minister had made of the economy”.
“The economy is in decline. We can’t blame the previous government, we had plenty of time and chances,” said Sinha on Thursday.
“I am not talking just based on one-quarter’s numbers, the economy has been falling for six straight quarters,” said Sinha. The main culprit that made the situation bad and near-catastrophic is demonetization, he said. Sinha had called the move “an unmitigated economic disaster” in his column.
“The biggest culprit for growth slowing is the note ban. A thorough study should have been done on its effects on the economy, to jobs and it should have been introduced when the economy was in a healthy state, not in the manner it was introduced,” said Sinha.
He reiterated on Thursday that the rollout of GST was “badly conceived and poorly implemented”. “After the demonetization shocker, GST was another one. What was the need to hurry? They could have launched it in October,” said Sinha.
Sinha slammed the government’s economic policies to shreds and blasted finance minister Arun Jaitley. “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 workforce, 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.
A stunned BJP responded by launching Yashwant’s son, Union Minister Jayant Sinha. Jayant on Thursday said in an article published in TOI that conclusion has been drawn from limited facts and the points on fundamental structural reforms transforming the economy were missed. “We are creating a robust new economy that will power long-term growth and job creation”.
Sinha had said, “I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister (Jaitley) has made of the economy.”