Jaitley snubs Swamy, backs top econ adviser
BJP MP earns FM’s ire with tirade against Arvind Subramanian
The government on Wednesday expressed “full confidence” in chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian, in an apparent snub to BJP MP Subramanian Swamy whose recent criticisms of top policymakers have led many to question the acceptable limits of public discourse in India.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley came to his top adviser’s defence after Swamy accused him of encouraging the opposition Congress to “become rigid” on the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST), and acting against India’s interest during his time in the United States.
Swamy’s earlier diatribe had been directed at central bank governor Raghuram Rajan, and many saw that criticism as contributing to his decision not to seek a second term after September.
Jaitley’s comments on Wednesday were the strongest yet against Swamy that not only backed the two top policymakers but also asked politicians to desist from personal attacks targeting officials.
“The government has full confidence in the chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and his advice to the government from time to time has been of great value,” Jaitley said at a press conference in New Delhi.
“I would also add one more fact from the point of view of discipline of Indian politicians. To what extent should we attack those the discipline and constraints of whose offices prevent them from responding? And this has happened more than once.”
Swamy had accused Rajan of wrecking the economy, alleging he was “mentally not fully Indian” since he held a US green card. Both Rajan and Subramanian have worked at the International Monetary Fund. While Rajan was appointed by the previous UPA government, Subramanian was brought in by the NDA government in October 2014.
Jaitley rejected suggestions that the government had not spoken out for Rajan when Swamy had targeted him, asserting that he as well as BJP president Amit Shah had spoken on the matter.