In his new book titled ‘India Unmade: How Narendra Modi Broke the Economy’, former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his policy decisions, saying PM Modi could have taken the Indian economy to new heights by fixing the former government’s legacy issues. Modi could have fundamentally raised a poor country to a middle-income country, but he “squandered the chance”, Sinha claimed. The former finance minister Sinha has been severely critical of PM Modi on GDP figures, jobs, demonetisation and Make in India, among others policies and programmes.
According to Sinha, the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India is in extreme danger, GDP numbers are misleading and demonetisation – announced in November 2016 – is the biggest banking scam ever, the PTI reported. Sinha quit BJP in April this year. Further, he noted that though his book is a critique of the Modi-led government’s economic management, he has not always been a critic of Modi.
“Nor do I have a personal vendetta against him for not appointing me minister or giving me some other post, as some people incorrectly speculate… In fact, the truth is that I recognised his mettle early on and was one of the first senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders to say he should be made the party’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 elections,” Sinha said.
In the book, Sinha argued that the demonetisation of high-denomination currency notes announced on November 8, 2016 was a “whimsical” decision and served no purpose of governance. “It did, however, provide Modi with a populist campaign plank of having taken tough decisions to nab the corrupt rich. His decision paid a rich electoral dividend in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. But as far as the constantly shifting governance objectives of demonetisation went, it was a big zero,” he added.
Make in India
According to Sinha, Make in India – the flagship program of the Modi-led government – is the biggest failure and an “unoriginal idea”. He said that the scheme is just a revival of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council that the UPA set up in 2004.
He said that the GDP figures are too below India’s potential. With an average rate of 7.35% over its first four years, the growth rates, according to Sinha, were seemed to have been recalibrated to make the economic management of the government look good. He however also said that UPA’s management of the economy was also flawed.
Sinha said that the jobs that the PM Modi has mentioned like ‘pakoda’ sellers, autorickshaw drivers, tea-stall boys and newspaper deliverers are all in the informal sector and are nobody’s idea of an aspirational job.
While talking about the GST, Sinha said that it was a good idea as it was simple. “It is a better tax, but Modi-Jaitley botched it up at its very beginning. That GST has been tweaked 200 times already and over 400 notifications and 100 circulars and FAQs have been issued since its launch is standing testimony to the folly of the Modi-Jaitley team.”