The Narendra Modi government seems to be moving from one crisis to another as far as managing perception of its handling of the economy is concerned. After stringent criticism from its own party MP Subramanian Swamy in an interview to Network 18, senior leader Yashwant Sinha launched a blistering attack on the party in a column published in the Indian Express on Wednesday.
Sinha accused finance minister Arun Jaitley of mismanaging the economy despite being one of the most luckiest finance minister in the post liberalisation era. He wrote that despite having at his disposal lakhs of crores of rupees thanks to depressed global crude oil prices, Jaitley wasted the oil bonanza and the legacy problems have not only been allowed to persist, they have become worse.
“The economy is on a downward spiral, is poised for a hard landing. Many in the BJP know it but do not say it out of fear,” writes Yashwant Sinha in his column.
Subramanian Swamy had similar and more things to say about his own government’s handling of the economy in an interview couple of weeks back. Swamy said that the economy is heading for a “major depression” and it can “crash” soon if efforts are not put to revive it. “Today, the economy is in a tailspin. Yes, it can crash. We need to do a lot of good things to revive the economy. Even a tailspin can be made to steady. If nothing is done, we are heading for a major depression. There will be mass scale… banks might collapse, factories might start closing,”said Swamy, reports The Financial Express.
Meanwhile, the BJP stung by the attacks, especially from a former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, rejected its leader’s criticism of the state of economy. Home minister Rajnath Singh insisted that the Indian economy is the fastest growing in the world while railway minister Piyush Goyal sought to blunt the attack by saying some “uncertainty” is bound to occur when “transformative” measures like demonetisation and the GST are taken.
So why has the government suddenly come under such sustained attack, not just from those outside the party but also from insiders? BOOM’s Govindraj Ethiraj spoke to columnist and author Shankkar Aiyar to understand the cause of the economic slowdown and the options that the government has to protect the economy from further distress.