Questioning NDA government’s claims of economic recovery since it came to power, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has said that growth is up “only statistically” and there are serious issues which still need to be addressed.
“We have recovered from the slowdown, at least statistically, if not really, because we have changed the norms,” Sinha, a former Union Finance Minister, said at an industry meet here late last evening.
He said there is a need for debate on this and there should be comparable figures of economic growth from the previous years which can validate the claims of recovery.
“It cannot be that you prepare one year’s figures and say that now you’re doing 7.4 per cent or 8 per cent or 20 per cent,” said Sinha, whose son Jayant serves as a Minister of State for Finance in the Narendra Modi government.
“What are the new norms (of computation)? Even the Chief Economic Advisor of the Government of India does not understand this. And we’ve put the same culprits (who initiated the change) to sit in judgement over this change,” Sinha remarked.
There are “serious issues” in the economy which need to be addressed and the government can never say that it has tackled all the pressing concerns, he added.
Earlier this year, the government adopted a change in the system of growth computation, which put the country’s economic growth to be among the fastest in the world, even ahead of China. The country grew 7.4 per cent in FY15 under the new system — as against the 5 per cent levels under the older system in FY14 — and is expected to close in on the 8 per cent mark for FY16.
Sinha also criticised the stance of Reserve Bank of India in keeping interest rates high, blaming its “measly” cuts for the banks’ reluctance to pass on the benefits of the cumulative 0.75 per cent cut.
In an apparent reference to reports of lack of warmth between RBI and Finance Ministry, Sinha said there is a need for a “working alliance” between Mint Street and North Block, and they cannot be at cross purposes.
Sinha was quick to add that he shared a very good relationship with the then RBI governor Bimal Jalan when he was in the North Block.