I have been working on economy: "Tai" Nirmala Sitharaman
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed to power again in May 2019, he gave the ministry of finance to Nirmala Sitharaman. Given her education and experience, it seemed she might be able to avert an economic crisis but the last weeks have shown otherwise. And on Thursday, she claimed she is "working on economy". What should we say? Kudos Tai for trying to do your job?
India's GDP growth fell to a seven-year low in April-June and was recorded at 5%. But that is not it. The automobile industry is going through its worst-ever phase, with companies like Maruti shutting down their factories for two days this month. From two-wheelers to cars, and even heavy vehicles like trucks, sales have dropped across verticals, leading to lay-offs naturally.
Off late, Sitharaman has been addressing press meets to announce "corrective measures". One of them was merging 10 major public sector banks into 4, a move which many weren't sure would work. Interestingly, her recent address got her criticism when she announced that e-cigarettes will be banned for "health purposes". Entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar Shaw asked why she (and not the Health Ministry) made this announcement.
E-cigarettes banned, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman - Shd this not come from Min of Health? How about banning gutka too? How about MoF announcing some fiscal measures to revive economy? https://t.co/9c4hpRlUUD— Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (@kiranshaw) September 18, 2019
In a rare incident, Sitharaman replied to Shaw's query. She said she briefed media about cabinet decisions and reminded that her colleague Prakash Javadekar was also there with her. Further, she revealed Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan is abroad. "Health Secretary was also with me, explaining details. These are protocols, as you know, which government press conferences follow," she added.
As Finance Minister — you might’ve observed — I’ve been working on and regularly speaking about measures we’ve been taking on matters of the economy. 3/3— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) September 19, 2019
The distressing condition of the economy has put PM Modi on the receiving end of ire. On Wednesday, the Gandhi siblings- Rahul and Priyanka, took a dig at him, citing a media report which claimed investors might be "falling out of love" with PM Modi. Rahul tweeted: "Howdy economy doin', Mr. Modi? Ain't too good it seems (sic)". His sister took the same route.
चकाचौंध दिखा कर रोज 5 ट्रिलियन-5 ट्रिलियन बोलते रहने या मीडिया की हेडलाइन मैनेज करने से आर्थिक सुधार नहीं होता। विदेशों में प्रायोजित इवेंट करने से निवेशक नहीं आते। निवेशकों का भरोसा डगमगा चुका है। आर्थिक निवेश की जमीन दरक गई है। #BjpBadForBusiness https://t.co/G1YvZRrvvD— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) September 18, 2019