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Netas' politics on economy

Netas politics on economy

When former Union Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha criticised the Centre's economic policy in his recent article – there was little enthusiasm from BJP to respond to Sinha's points, except the present Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley! Instead of countering Sinha's allegation on economic depression with facts and figures, Jaitley–a seasoned lawyer – preferred a jibe at Sinha and said he doesn't have 'luxury of being ex-Finance Minister'.Though it is an open truth that Sinha's dissidence is the result of keeping him out of BJP's think-tank for long, there is little doubt that the argument he made was actual. When the growth falls continually since the quarter ending March 2016 and the private investment and exports biting the dust, something other than taunt was needed for the government to neutralise former Finance Minister's views. At present, it is a meaningless exercise to debate or criticise the failures and loopholes in economic programmes launched during the tenure of former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh or P Chidambaram or even Yashwant Sinha. Instead, Jaitley should lead from the front to admit the faults and leave no stone unturned to make India a real 'economic power'. But, rather than build on this stroke of good luck, the Finance Minister seems shooting the government itself in the foot. Sample these failures: Paralysing Prime Minister Modi's 'Make in India, mission, manufacturing has ground to a halt. Agriculture is in distress across nearly every state – leading to multiple farmer agitations. Alarming for a country of India's size and youth bulge – 12 million people enter the workforce each year – the nation is actually losing jobs on a net basis. Businessmen are unhappy, though preferred to be tight-lipped. Traders and the shopkeepers are cursing because business is slow and the GST has added to their woes. The patience of the middle-class seems to be wearing off. Rural India is gasping for breath with the oxygen line of MGNREGA, doles and a mixture of subsidies garrotted. Though the Finance Minister pointed out rightly that a series of decisions had been taken to clean up the parallel economy and justified

Instead, Jaitley should lead from the front to admit the faults and leave no stone unturned to make India a real 'economic power'. But, rather than build on this stroke of good luck, the Finance Minister seems shooting the government itself in the foot. Sample these failures: Paralysing Prime Minister Modi's 'Make in India, mission, manufacturing has ground to a halt. Agriculture is in distress across nearly every state – leading to multiple farmer agitations. Alarming for a country of India's size and youth bulge – 12 million people enter the workforce each year – the nation is actually losing jobs on a net basis. Businessmen are unhappy, though preferred to be tight-lipped. Traders and the shopkeepers are cursing because business is slow and the GST has added to their woes. The patience of the middle-class seems to be wearing off. Rural India is gasping for breath with the oxygen line of MGNREGA, doles and a mixture of subsidies garrotted. Though the Finance Minister pointed out rightly that a series of decisions had been taken to clean up the parallel economy and justified demonetisation citing 15.7 per cent jump in direct tax collections, the advocate-turned-politician did not hesitate in escalating the political slugfest hitting back at Sinha as a 'job applicant at 80'. On the other hand, the Modi government also seems taking a wake-up call to the economic crisis, but fearing the backlash in public opinion – the government rejects it out-rightly in public. Though the Union government had reconstituted the Economic Advisory Council and planned some stimulus package to prop up the economy, the time has come for the government to clearly tell the public about the government's further plans to get out of this economic slowdown. Finance Minister's claims apart, the

On the other hand, the Modi government also seems taking a wake-up call to the economic crisis, but fearing the backlash in public opinion – the government rejects it out-rightly in public. Though the Union government had reconstituted the Economic Advisory Council and planned some stimulus package to prop up the economy, the time has come for the government to clearly tell the public about the government's further plans to get out of this economic slowdown. Finance Minister's claims apart, the realisation about the ongoing economic hold-up has been reflected in several reactions and statements of ministers both on the political and fiscal front. While the finance minister has hinted at a fiscal stimulus, the petroleum minister has finally come around with assurances of a price rectification in the coming weeks. Though Sinha has roasted the finance minister for mismanaging the economy at a very critical time, he failed to provide any reason or solution to the present situation. Much unexpected from the academic and bureaucratic calibre of Sinha, he squarely blamed only Jaitley while denouncing demonetisation and GST. Not to forget, there is no silver lining immediately visible at this moment. Even a heavy public spending does not appear pulling India out of the depression. Even increase in the budget deficit would escalate inflation. Hobson's choice, however, is, kick-starting private investment – but nobody can exactly predict its yields. At a time, when the situation appears far from being out of control and the bottom has not fallen off the economy for people to panic, the members of Narendra Modi's council of ministers must do well to keep its head down, avoiding the verbal acrobatics. They would have to realise that for the first time in the past five years the BJP seems to be losing the perception battle and its hold on the popular narrative.

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