NEW DELHI: The political battle regarding the economic slowdown escalated, with Arun Jaitley hitting back at Yashwant Sinha lebelling him as a “job applicant at 80”.
Finance minister also pointed out Sinha was the FM when India was staring at default in loan repayment with foreign exchange reserves of less than $4 billion in 1991. Similarly, Sinha was finance minister in the Vajpayee government when non-performing assets of banks were at 14-15% of their loans.
“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,” Jaitley said.
Being a former finance minister “I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis (during UPA-2). I can conveniently forget the 15% NPAs of 1998 to 2002 (when Sinha was FM). I can conveniently forget the $4 billion reserve left in 1991 and I can switch over and change the narrative … Acting in tandem itself won’t change the facts”, the minister said and recalled an early lesson in politics.
“Growth rates are related to several factors, one of the factors is how you fit into the world. Is the world supportive or is the global economy stopping you from growing? There was a period from 2003 to 2008, when we grew with the global trend, and then the world slowed down. We became the fastest growing major economy for the first three years (of Modi government),” Jaitley said.