NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said there was an ideological consistency in BJP’s approach towards Indian economy and business since Jana Sangh days and the Budget has taken forward the opening up process, which started in 1991 resulting in dismantling of the licence quota raj, drawing upon Narendra Modi’s experience as chief minister of Gujarat.
“… since Jana Sangh days, BJP has consistently believed in India, respecting Indian entrepreneurial skills, Indian managerial skills, Indian trade skills, Indian business skills and Indian youth. We did not borrow something from somewhere and gave a hybrid (model),” the minister told the Lok Sabha, while responding to the debate on the Budget, while attacking Congress for its economic ideology.
She said the principal opposition Congress were socialists at one point in time, also backed communism and created a system of licences and quotas, resulting in crony capitalism, before opening up of the Indian economy in 1991.
She said the privatisation plan, which has come under attack from the opposition as “selling the family silver”, requires a wholesome strategy. “…the policy, particularly the disinvestment in the PSE policy, does not allow for any kind of elementary or rudimentary approach to it”.
Countering criticism of the government opening up the economy to the private sector, and accusations of favouring certain business houses, Sitharaman argued in favour of domestic businesses, citing BJP’s economic philosophy since the Jan Sangh days.
“Our belief in India, our belief in Indian businesses and our belief in Indian economic strength has been consistent from Jana Sangh to BJP to, now, BJP… (it is) also going in a steady line of belief in Indian enterprises, giving them maximum freedom and giving them the respect that they deserve.”
She said the Modi government believed in respecting wealth creators, taxpayers and honest citizens, and pointed to PM’s speech. “Unless the wealth-creators give the taxes and generate that kind of a lubrication in the economy, you are not going to have any money to distribute.”