Tearing into former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s criticism of Modi government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the transition from UPA to NDA government has been from “policy paralysis” to a global “bright-spot” while Congress’ stand on the crucial GST Bill has been motivated by “real politics”.
In a Facebook post titled ‘What Dr. Manmohan Singh should advise his Party’, Jaitley said unlike in the UPA regime when policies were framed from Congress headquarters at 24, Akbar Road, in the NDA government Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the last word.
“Former Presidents and Prime Ministers rarely speak, but when they do, the nation should listen to them with rapt attention. They represent the wisdom of the nation.
“They are expected to be non-partisan, render constructive advice and at times send a powerful message even to their own political party to act in broader national interest,” he said.
Stating that he had consistently held Singh in high respect, he expected the same from him.
Referring to Singh’s interview to a periodical over Modi not reaching out to the opposition and government not doing enough to move up the country’s economy, he said, “I am sure if Dr Singh would dispassionately analyse the present government, he would really realize India has a government where the Prime Minister has the last word, where natural resources are allocated without corruption through transparent process…
“… where industrialists no longer visit North Block to push files/decisions, where environmental clearances are dealt with in routine and not stalled on sadistic or corrupt considerations.”
Posing a question if there was any change in the work culture, the Finance Minister said the public sector banks were hardly run by their own Boards or even by North Block during the UPA government.
“They were run from 24, Akbar Road. In power and infrastructure areas, sectoral challenges were not addressed during the UPA. It is the present government which is clearing up these accumulated challenges,” he said.
Jaitley said many stalled infrastructure projects have now started moving. “India’s journey is from ‘policy-paralysis’ to a global ‘bright-spot’, as the fastest growing economy moves on notwithstanding major challenges.”
On consultations with the opposition, he said almost all political parties except the Congress, support the GST.
“The Congress has done a volte face. Both the Parliamentary Affairs Minister and myself have discussed the GST with every senior Congress leader in Parliament,” he said.
He asked if the Congress’ position on “Constitutional cap” on GST rates not “motivated by real politics?”
“The economist in Dr Singh should advice his party that tariffs are not provided for in the Constitution. This is what nation expects from the senior leaders and statesmen like former Prime Ministers,” he added.