Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha during ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on 13 February 2021 | LSTV | PTI
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha during Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on 13 February 2021 | LSTV | PTI
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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Saturday sought to reiterate the BJP’s “belief” in Indian businesses and entrepreneurs, saying wealth creators play an important role in the Indian economy.

Her comments come a couple of days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi batted for privatisation and respecting wealth creators, taking forward the massive privatisation push of central public sector enterprises announced in Budget 2021.

“Our belief in Indian businesses has been consistent from Jana Sangh to BJP… respecting wealth creators, taxpayers and honest citizens is something we consistently follow,” Sitharaman said in her reply to the Budget debate in the Lok Sabha.

Tearing into what she termed the “hybrid socialism followed by governments” in earlier decades, Sitharaman said such socialism ended the Indian entrepreneur’s capacity to take the economy forward.

“It started denigrating Indian businesses and made it difficult for businesses to perform. Too many regulations ended up stifling these businesses. Poverty reduction has happened when public and private enterprises were freed from licence quota raj,” she added.

In her Budget speech on 1 February, Sitharaman said the government will maintain a bare minimum presence in only four strategically significant sectors and all central public sector enterprises in other sectors will be privatised.

The sectors can be broadly classified under these heads — those important for national security like atomic energy, space and defence; critical infrastructure sectors like transport and telecommunications; sectors important for energy security, like power and minerals; and financial services.

Sitharaman pointed out that the government’s reform push was not a knee-jerk reaction.

“Disinvestment in PSE policy does not allow for elementary or rudimentary approach. It will lay a path for India to become a top economy in the world,” she said.


Also read: Privatisation is here — these two public sector banks could be the first ones to be sold


‘Favouring damaad is Congress style’

Sitharaman also tore into comments made by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and countered his ‘Hum do humaare do’ comment, where he had accused the government of favouring two big corporate houses.

Gandhi had spoken in the Lok Sabha Thursday as part of the Budget debate, focusing mainly on the farm laws.

She said crony capitalism and favouring the “damaad (son-in-law)” were a practice followed by the Congress. “That is your style — we two and then the daughter and son-in law,” she said, in an apparent reference to the Gandhi family.

She also questioned why Gandhi did not explain the Congress’ U-turn on the farm laws.

Sitharaman said changes in the way farmers can sell their produce outside the mandis were promised in the Congress’ 2019 manifesto. Gandhi, she added, did not raise even one real objection to the farm laws.

Further, she questioned why Congress-ruled states did not announce debt waivers, saying the party did not ask the Punjab government to provide relief to farmers on the issue of parali (stubble) burning.

She asked why Rahul Gandhi “insults constitutional authority and builds fake narratives” to tarnish India’s image globally.

She concluded her debate by saying that the Congress’ belief in a democratically elected parliamentary system is over.


Also read: ‘Ek Congress neta’ — Why Narendra Modi never addresses Rahul Gandhi by name


 

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5 Comments Share Your Views

5 COMMENTS

  1. Your advice that perhaps some thought should also be given to the hard majoritarian / authoritarian turn that has come to define New India, is not going to be considered.

    Hate agenda, targeting minorities as if that benefits the majority is what got them power, what keeps them in power and they have nothing else. If they could deliver economic growth, then they would not be playing the Hindu-Muslim. As the economy fails, they will play this card even harder. They know they have a bunch of supporters who don’t mind if they have nothing to eat, but will be satisfied in lynching their neighbours.

  2. This lady is even more incompetent than Jaitley. She claimed she was going to have a 5 trillion economy. But an Act of God stopped her. When asked about the auto industry slumping, she said Indians are taking Uber. When asked about prices of onions rising, she said (being a super Brahmin), she did not know as she did not eat onions.

    Her main job is to justify Modi – in Rafale scam, or Modi’s Gujarati crony capitalism.

    Meanwhile promise dreams. New dreams. People forget the old one.

  3. This is true. The Jana Sangh was known as the party of traders and businessmen. So one has been a little puzzled why for seven years, it was all about building toilets and providing LPG cylinders. The question ( this applies to National Interest as well ) is why so much precious time, two thirds of a decade, has been whiled away, not doing the Reagan – Thatcher stuff everyone, at least South Bombay, was expecting. Vajpayeeji was hemmed in by genuine coalition compulsions and yet managed to carry the spirit of 1991 forward. 2. The government is (re)discovering its reformist instincts at a difficult time. The farm laws have run into a brick wall. Some would say, have fallen off a cliff. Creating political turbulence as well. Haryana, perhaps western UP as well. It is good the government sees merit in economic reforms. Whether selling just two PSBs and a sliver of LIC will qualify for laurels one cannot say. 3. Just as a course correction is being attempted for the economy, perhaps some thought should also be given to the hard majoritarian / authoritarian turn that has come to define New India. These things do not support buoyant economic growth.

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