New Delhi: Days after Nirmala Sitharaman defended the Narendra Modi-led government over the economic policies, firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy said that the Union Finance Minister ‘doesn’t know any economics’. Swamy, a Harvard-trained economist, who has been positioning himself for the FM’s post also claimed that PM Modi’s advisors were too afraid to tell him the truth. “The Prime minister knows nothing about it. He is being told ‘wonderful growth rate’,” Swamy said in a recent interview with HuffPost India.
Upping the ante against Sitharaman, Swamy, said, “If you see the press conferences, she (Sitharaman) is handing the mic to civil servants to answer. What is the problem in the country today? Poor demand. Supply is not the problem. But what did she do? She relaxes taxes for corporates. Corporates are flushed with supply. They will just use it.”
Talking about PM Modi, Swamy said that he had been over looked by the Prime Minister because the ‘PM didn’t want any minister to talk back to him, let alone in public, but in private cabinet meetings too’.
Notably, Swamy’s comment against PM Modi and Finance Minister Sitharaman comes days before India’s GDP growth rate went down to 4.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2019-20. The interview took place on Wednesday, and on Friday the GDP figures were revealed.
In the interview, Swamy put out the GDP numbers closer to 1.5 per cent. He had stated,”Do you know what the real growth rate today is? They are saying that it is coming down to 4.8%. I’m saying it is 1.5 per cent.”
Earlier this year, similar observation were made by former Chief Economic Advisor Amitabh Kant. In a piece for The Indian Express, Kant had argued,”My results indicate that methodological changes led to GDP growth being overstated by about 2.5 percentage points per year between 2011-12 and 2016-17, a period that spans both UPA and NDA governments. Official estimates place average annual growth for this period at about 7 per cent. Actual growth may have been about 4.5 per cent, with a 95 per cent confidence interval of 3.5 to 5.5 per cent.”