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  India   Politics  29 Sep 2017  Arun Jaitley hits at ex-FM Yashwant Sinha, calls him 80-yr-old job aspirant

Arun Jaitley hits at ex-FM Yashwant Sinha, calls him 80-yr-old job aspirant

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Sep 29, 2017, 2:34 am IST
Updated : Sep 29, 2017, 9:00 am IST

In a newspaper article that appeared on Wednesday, Sinha blamed Jaitley for making a mess of the economy.

At a book release function here, Jaitley refrained from taking 84-year-old Sinha’s name, but reminded him how he and the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had taken the finance portfolio from him. (Photo: File)
 At a book release function here, Jaitley refrained from taking 84-year-old Sinha’s name, but reminded him how he and the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had taken the finance portfolio from him. (Photo: File)

New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday launched a fierce counter-attack on party colleague and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, calling him a job applicant at 80 years who has forgotten his own track record as Finance Minister.

In a newspaper article that appeared on Wednesday, Sinha blamed Jaitley for making a mess of the economy.

 

At a book release function here, Jaitley refrained from taking 84-year-old Sinha’s name, but reminded him how he and the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had taken the finance portfolio from him.

“I must confess that I do not have the luxury as yet of being a former finance minister. Nor do I have the luxury of being a former finance minister who has turned a columnist… Therefore, I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis, 15 per cent NPAs, 4 billion reserves left in 1991 and I can switch over and change a narrative. Speaking of persons and then bypassing the issues is something which is very easily done,” Jaitley said in obvious barbs aimed at Sinha.

 

Read: Can't blame Cong, BJP had ample chance: ex-FM defends his article

He was highlighting the fact that the non-per forming assets of banks during Sinha’s tenure as finance minister had hit a high of 15 per cent in 1998-2002 and in 1991 the foreign reserves of country had fallen to just $4 billion.

“Probably, a more appropriate title for the book would have been India@70, Modi@3.5 and a Job Applicant@80,” said Jaitley, taking another jibe at Sinha at the release of the book titled, India@70, Modi @3.5, written by Bibek Debroy and Ashok Malik.  

Jaitley defended the decisions taken by the Modi government on the economic front and hinted that Sinha had criticised the economic policies of the government in his article because he was miffed at not being accommodated in the Narendra Modi government.

 

Defending his record as finance minister, Jaitley said that during three years of the Modi government, inflation has fallen, deficit is down and India is the largest recipient of the foreign investment.  

Jaitely also said that unlike the UPA, the Modi government has not shied away from taking tough decisions and there is no policy paralysis.

The finance minister said that the Modi government has ended corruption and for environmental clearances files no longer have to travel to Chennai, a veiled gibe at the alleged corruption by Jayanthi Natarajan, the UPA’s Chennai-based environment minister.

Tearing apart Sinha’s claims on the current state of economy, Jaitley recalled how BJP leader LK Advani had advised the former finance minister in 1991 to speak on issues and avoid attacking individuals.

 

The finance minister accused Sinha of acting in tandem with senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram, forgetting the harsh words the two had used to target each other. He pointed out how Sinha had claimed that Chidambaram had brought the economy to the ground as finance minister and how Sinha had accused Chidambaram of bugging his phone.

The finance minister also recalled what Chidambaram had said about Sinha as finance minister — that India had seen the worst growth since liberalisation during his tenure and he was happy that Vajpayee had replaced him as finance minister.

He said that some very distinguished predecessors, including a former President (Pranab Mukherjee), a former Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and other predecessors have “decided to act in concert”.

 

“Acting in tandem itself won’t change the facts,” said Jaitley.

Sinha, in the newspaper article headlined, I need to speak up now, criticised Jaitley over the “mess the finance minister has made of the economy” and went on to slam the government over decisions like note ban and GST.

Chidambaram spoke in favour of Sinha’s article.

Jaitley said that he has followed the policy of fiscal prudence and there is no hidden deficit in the Budget. He said that unlike in the previous regime, when inflation was 9-10 per cent, inflation is now down to 3.36 per cent. He also said that direct taxes, which have grown over 15 per cent this year over last year, have not been impacted by the slowdown as “visualised” by some people.

 

The government, he added, had ended discretionary power and now a market market mechanism is being followed for allocation of resources.

Jaitley added that the government is finalising an electoral bonds scheme, a move aimed at cleaning up political funding.

Earlier on Thursday, Jaitley met exporters to boost sluggish exports. Exporters want resolution of problems arising from implementation of GST and sought expeditious refund of duties and deferment of filing of GST returns for six months.

Tags: arun jaitley, yashwant sinha, atal behari vajpayee
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi