Jait­ley snubs Swamy, backs top econ ad­viser

BJP MP earns FM’s ire with tirade against Arvind Subra­ma­nian

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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