New Delhi: Rejecting senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha's critique on the state of the Indian economy, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said the country's image is very strong internationally. "The world acknowledges India is the fastest growing economy. No one should forget it. Our image at the international level is very strong," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
Singh made the statement while he was briefing reporters on Union Cabinet's decisions. In a newspaper article, Sinha criticised the state of Indian economy and said that it is poised for a hard landing. He had also said that sector after sector of the economy was in distress and the November 8 demonetisation had proved to be an "unmitigated economic disaster".
He had also lashed out at "lucky" Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for making a "mess" of the Indian economy. Sinha, who was the Finance Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "claims he has seen poverty from close quarters (and) his finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters".
Illustrating the picture of the Indian economy today, Sinha said private investment has shrunk "as never before in two decades" while industrial production has all but collapsed.
"Agriculture is in distress, construction industry, a big employer of the work force, is in the doldrums, the rest of the service sector is also in the slow lane, exports have dwindled, sector after sector of the economy is in distress."
He noted that Jaitley, who holds the department of disinvestment, and also held the Ministries of Defence (which was given to Nirmala Sitharaman in the last cabinet rejig) and Corporate Affairs, was carrying the heavy burden of so many extra responsibilities and it was "perhaps too much to expect from" him.
"I have handled the Ministry of Finance and know how much hard work there is in that ministry alone. Finance Ministry, in the best of times, calls for the undivided attention of its boss if the job has to be properly done. In challenging times it becomes more than a 24/7 job. Naturally, even a superman like Jaitley could not do justice to the task."
Sinha said he was speaking about the mess after realizing that "I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now".
"I am also convinced that (it) reflects the sentiments of a large number of people in the BJP and elsewhere who are not speaking up out of fear."