The BJP leader Yashwant Sinha is still unaffected by all the criticism he has to face for speaking against the Indian economy and said that lack of jobs will be a major issue in next Lok Sabha polls. The 79-year-old leader also said that he feels that any effort to divide voters on issues like Ram Mandir or Article 370 will not work on a whole basis.
“I feel vindicated (on the Indian Express article attacking the government’s handling of the economy). My first satisfaction is that the issue is being debated. There is quite an informed debate going on. I stand by the facts and figures I quoted. I see no signs so far of a respite for the stressed sectors of our economy. RBI has not revised rates. On the fiscal side again, the indications are that even if they don’t go for fiscal expansion, the target of fiscal deficit will be breached the way expenditure is happening this year,” said Sinha to IANS in an interview. The 79-year-old leader also said that he made his own assessment and that can be different from others.
“But they (government) have not answered a single issue. Out of the council of ministers, my son (Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha) has come out. People said it should be dismissed as a father-son feud. It was reducing it to the level of such flippancy that the serious issue would be lost. I am happy that it has not happened,” said the 79-year-old leader. When asked whether the BJP would win 2019 Lok Sabha elections easily or it will be a tough road for them, the senior BJP leader said that it is too early to talk about this question as still 18 months left. ““The Indian voter is unpredictable and I should know given the 2004 elections,” he said.
“One is jobs and (the other) price rise. The Indian voter is worried if my lad has a job or not. That adds to the frustration. As far as employment is concerned, it will be a major issue. Household after household will be suffering from unemployment,” Sinha said, adding that there are major two issues in the economy. When asked about polarization, Sinha said that “That kind of polarisation has never worked on a country-wide basis. It may in pockets, but I don’t think it will meet with electoral success. One thing is very certain. Either it (temple construction) will have to be with the consent of the parties concerned or through a court judgement. You will succeed only if there is a conflicting environment. Then the only polarisation will take place. And it does not work every time”.
Praising the Modi government on one and only thing, the 70-year-old leader said that Modi government had no corruption charges so far but that’s not going to benefit the common man. “Nothing has changed on that front. For the common man, there is hardly any relief,” he said. The veteran BJP leader said, “There is a camp which says that rupee should be allowed to depreciate because it is affecting exports. We don’t see any clear policy emerging. From the economic point of view, exports have come down, foreign demand is not there. Industrial demand is not there. Overall demand in the economy is not there. That is one reason why private investment is not taking place. There is no generation of fresh capacity. This is serious… because economic growth will take place only on the basis of rising demand. In 3.5 years of this government, there is no demand.”
While commenting on demonetization, Sinha said that it would have been the finance minister, then he would have opposed it with ferocity. “It is a long debate what demonetisation can achieve, what it has achieved and what can be achieved through alternative means. We are talking of cashless. We have a whole host of measures to go cashless. I think there are 1.8 million cases (of disproportionate deposits). And all these cases will take their own time. If the Income Tax department has to handle these cases, then tax terrorism has returned. We are declaring to the world we are a country of thieves and black money holders. By when will we see the outcome of these cases, we don’t know. The fact of the matter is that they have blundered badly as far as this move of demonetisation is concerned,” said Sinha.
To a question on GST and the issues experienced by traders on account of its execution, Sinha said, “Now suddenly it has become the biggest reform since 1947 and they are tom-tomming it. I am seriously questioning the understanding of taxation that these people possess. Fifteen years (after) I introduced CENVAT with three rates, they introduce GST with five official rates- and with many more cesses. There can’t be more than three rates.” The veteran BJP leader said that the demand needs to be generated and there was also need to make an investment for demand for goods first in the economy. “We have to create demand for investment goods. That will lead to more job opportunities, money will flow into people’s pockets through employment and then demand consumption goods will rise. But this is not happening now,” said Sinha.