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Don't Have Luxury Of Being Ex-Finance Minister Yet, Says Arun Jaitley

New Delhi:  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley this evening provided his response to the ferocious criticism by BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha of his alleged conversion of the economy into a “mess”. 

“I must confess that I do not have the luxury as yet of being a former finance minister. Nor do I have the luxury of being a former finance minister who’s turned a columnist,” Mr Jaitley said about Mr Sinha, adding that Mr Sinha’s performance in the same office was disastrous.

“His tenure during 2000-2003, were the worst years in liberalised India, and PM Vajpayee had to force him out,” he said.

In an interview to NDTV today, Mr Sinha said that the government appears to be in denial about the stalled economy which hits its three-year low in June, registering growth of 5.7 per cent. Mr Sinha said “the buck stops with the Finance Minister”, refusing criticism that he has shielded Prime Minister Narendra Modi from responsibility for the downturn.

The government has said that the last quarter’s sluggishness is temporary and that the introduction of the GST or national sales tax which came months after the PM’s shock decision to outlaw high-denomination notes will deliver far-reaching gains. Mr Sinha argues that the timing of both reforms was faulty and that the economy will further slump over the next few months.