In a bid to prove that he is fit enough to take charge, Jaitley has furiously taken to blogging
Union Minister Arun Jaitley is trying his best to regain the Finance portfolio but there doesn’t seem to be any movement on the part of the ruling dispensation to fulfil his wish. Piyush Goyal—who was “temporarily assigned” Finance in the wake of the kidney transplant that Jaitley got—has entrenched himself and is no mood to give up the prized charge.
This is not the tone and tenor of a Minister who is convalescing after a critical surgery; this is the cry of a politician desperate to retrieve the high office he has been deprived of
In a bid to prove that he is fit enough to take charge, Jaitley has furiously taken to blogging. In fact, he is trying to behave as if he were the incumbent Finance Minister. For instance, it was Jaitley rather than Goyal who announced the resignation of Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian. “Few days ago (sic), Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “He informed me that he would like to go back to the United States on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important for him. He left me with no option but to agree with him.”
Notice Subramanian leaving Jaitley “with no option but to agree with him.”
In another Facebook post on Monday, Jaitley had said that 7.7 per cent growth in the last quarter of last fiscal has “firmly” proved that India is the fastest-growing major economy.
In the same post, he also exhorted citizens to pay their taxes “honestly” to reduce dependence on oil as a revenue source. He practically ruled out cut in excise cuts in oil. “My earnest appeal, therefore, to political leaders and opinion makers… would be that evasion in the non-oil tax category must be stopped and, if people pay their taxes honestly, the high dependence on oil products for taxation eventually comes down. In the medium and long run, upsetting the fiscal maths can prove counter-productive,” Jaitley said.
This is not the tone and tenor of a Minister who is convalescing after a critical surgery; this is the cry of a politician desperate to retrieve the high office he has been deprived of.
To make matters worse for him, Goyal has started taking an active interest in the Finance Ministry. He has been meeting officers and executives of public sector banks, making important statements, and taking critical decisions.
The Finance Ministry, for instance, has cleared an import duty hike on such goods as apples, walnuts, and non-alloy steel from the US. It is significant that apples from other countries attract 50 per cent duty. The new tariff regime will become effective from August 4, 2018.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.