NEW DELHI: A day after former prime minister Manmohan Singh hit out at his successor Narendra Modi and the NDA government’s management of the economy, finance minister Arun Jaitley jumped to the latter’s defence.
He said the transition from the UPA to the NDA has been a passage from policy paralysis to a global bright spot.
The Prime Minister now has the last word unlike when Manmohan Singh was in the chair, he said. The government’s policies were run from the Congress headquarters.
Rebutting Manmohan Singh’s charge on GST, the finance minister said, “Almost all political parties except the Congress support the GST. The Congress has done a volte face. Both the parliamentary affairs minister and myself have discussed the GST with every senior Congress leader in Parliament.
“Is the Congress position on ‘constitutional cap’ not motivated by real politics? The economist in Dr Singh should advise his party that tariffs are not provided for in the Constitution. This is what the nation expects from senior leaders and statesmen like former prime ministers,” Jaitley said in a post titled ‘What Dr Manmohan Singh should advise his party.’
Comparing the UPA and NDA governments, the senior minister hit out at the Manmohan Singh’s regime. “If Dr Singh would dispassionately analyse the present government, he would really realize India has a government where the Prime Minister has the last word, where natural resources are allocated without corruption through transparent process, where industrialists no longer visit North Block to push files/decisions, where environmental clearances are dealt with in routine and not stalled on sadistic or corrupt considerations.”
The finance minister added, “Former presidents and prime ministers rarely speak, but when they do, the nation should listen to them with rapt attention. They represent the wisdom of the nation. They are expected to be non-partisan, render constructive advice and at times send a powerful message even to their own political party to act in broader national interest,” he said.
Stating that he held Singh in high respect, he expected the same from him.
Referring to the change that has taken place in governance since the new government took over, Jaitley said, “During the UPA government, public sector banks were hardly run by their own boards or even by North Block. They were run from 24, Akbar Road. In power and infrastructure areas, sectoral challenges were not addressed during the UPA. It is the present government which is clearing up these accumulated challenges.
“Many stalled infrastructure projects have now started moving. India’s journey is from policy paralysis to a global bright spot as the fastest growing economy moves on notwithstanding major challenges.”