Yashwant Sinha hits Demonetization, GST hard, criticizes Jaitley

New Delhi, Sep 27: Veteran Yashwant Sinha has chosen to attack the center's economic record. He says, in one of his columns, written for a national daily, that it is time for him to speak. In fact his acidic attacks on Finance Minister Arun Jaitly has left many in BJP red-faced. He has launched a scathing attack on Arun Jaitely and his policies and says that the economy cannot recover before the 2019 General Elections. He also claims that the GDP growth rate is actually 3.7 under the old calculation method. He has squarely blamed Arun Jaitley for all economic faults that the country is witnessing. He says that Arun Jaitley has taken a bigger bite than he can chew.

These are the main points of his column: "-I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister has made of the economy. I am also convinced that what I am going to say reflects the sentiments of a large number of people in the BJP and elsewhere who are not speaking up out of fear.

-His indispensability was established further when the prime minister rewarded him not only by giving him the finance ministry including the department of disinvestment, but also the ministries of defence and corporate affairs. Four ministries in one go out of which he still retains three. I have handled the ministry of finance and know how much hard work there is in that ministry alone. Finance ministry, in the best of times, calls for the undivided attention of its boss if the job has to be properly done. In challenging times it becomes more than a 24/7 job. Naturally, even a superman like Jaitley could not do justice to the task.

-So, what is the picture of the Indian economy today? 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 work force, 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. For quarter after quarter, the growth rate of the economy has been declining until it reached the low of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal, the lowest in three years. The spokespersons of the government say that demonetisation is not responsible for this deceleration. They are right. The deceleration had started much earlier. Demonetisation only added fuel to fire."