NEW DELHI (TIP): Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Feb 19 countered the criticism over “growing impatience” in the corporate sector and instead said that the Narendra Modi government has been criticized for moving “too fast”.
The minister’s statement came a day after HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh’s comments about changes not reflecting on the ground nine months after the Modi government got a decisive mandate in the Lok Sabha elections.
Although he refused to answer questions related to Parekh’s comment, Jaitley said: “We have to actually see what are the various steps that we have taken and the community of investors both within and outside the country watch us. In the first instance, what is the credibility of this government? What is the decisiveness of our decision making process? What is the process by which government treats business? And it’s an irony that after having seen lethargic governments, you today have a government which is criticized for being too fast.” Without naming any political party, Jaitley also lashed out at the opposition that has attacked the government for taking ordinance route, particularly the one dealing with land acquisition. He justified the decision to promote businesses and to expedite infrastructure projects including affordable housing for the poor in urban areas.
Referring to the views of the opposition the finance minister said, “Why you bring ordinances, you should wait till the cows come home and everybody can be settled and decisions can be taken. So in fact one great criticism which has come is you should have waited and not acted fast.”
He said that sections those who have an “ideal constituency” and vested interest to keep India “poor and keep poor as poor” won’t support such changes that would bring more investment from within and abroad. Jaitley said that the government is determined that the starting point of eradication of poverty will start with getting investment. Defending the crucial ordinance, the minister said that apart from promoting business and investment, acquisition of land is not for “industrial hubs” but “industrial corridors” that will bring huge economic benefits to the poor and locals. Jaitley said that in the past few years, too many self goals have been scored that has impacted investment flow to the country. Referring to the contradictory views of former environment minister Jayanthi Natrajan and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on stalled green clearances for projects for “collateral reasons”, the minister said there were two versions. First one, the decision to hold back clearances was on account of “dishonest consideration” and the second view is that the party dictating not to give clearances for “political positioning”.