India’s economy headed for a downward spiral, I need to speak up now: Yashwant Sinha

India: India’s economic growth hit a three-year low during the April-June period, enveloping Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a barrage of criticism for poor execution of major reforms such as the recent national sales tax and demonetization.

India has been ranked as the 40th most competitive economy — slipping one place from last year’s ranking — on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index, which is topped by Switzerland.

National competitiveness is defined as a set of institutions, policies and factors that determine a country’s level of productivity.

On the list of 137 economies, Switzerland is followed by the US and Singapore in second and third places, respectively.

Senior Bhartiya Janata Party leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha launched a scathing attack on the BJP-led central government’s economic policies, saying that the economy is headed for a downward spiral.

“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,” writes Sinha in an opinion piece for the Indian Express, adding that many within the BJP are aware of the situation, but fear speaking up.

Sinha says demonetisation proved to be an “unmitigated economic disaster” and that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was a “badly conceived and poorly implemented” havoc.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley comes in for the bulk of the criticism, as Sinha writes, “Arun Jaitley is considered to be the best and the brightest in this government. It was a foregone conclusion before the 2014 elections that he would be the finance minister in the new government.”

Sinha further took on BJP president Amit Shah for citing ‘technical’ reasons for slowdown in the GDP rate and wrote, “Even the SBI, the largest public sector bank of the country, has stated with unusual frankness that the slowdown is not transient or “technical”, it is here to stay and the slowdown in demand has only aggravated the situation. It has openly contradicted what the BJP president said just a few days ago that the slowdown in the last quarter was on account of “technical” reasons and will be corrected soon.”

On that note, the figures of the first quarter of fiscal 2017-18, released last month, showed the GDP growth rate falling at 5.7 percent, while in the concurrent period last year, the GDP was soaring ahead at 7.6 per cent.

In his article, Sinha also took a jibe at raids conducted by Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation and said that it has become “a new game to instil fear in the minds of people,” adding, “We protested against raid raj when we were in opposition. Today it has become the order of the day.”

He also ridiculed the “massive” loan waivers given to the farmers “varying from one paise to a few rupees.”

Sinha concluded his article by saying, “The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters.”

Sinha’s unusually sharp piece caused quite the stir and he started trending on social media. The Opposition has reacted strongly to the piece, with senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram lauding Sinha’s words as proof that truth will prevail. “Yashwant Sinha speaks Truth to Power. Will Power now admit the Truth that economy is sinking?” tweeted Chiadambaram.

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