New Delhi, Feb 13: Seeking to counter former prime minister Manmohan Singh's criticisms, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says India has actually moved on from an era of policy paralysis under the last government to becoming a global bright spot with transparent decision making.
"Has there been any change in the work culture of the government? During the UPA government, the public sector banks were hardly run by their own boards or even the North Block. They were run from 24, Akbar Road," Jaitley said, alluding to the finance ministry and Congress office.
"In power and infrastructure areas, sectoral challenges were not addressed during the UPA. It is the present Government which is clearing the accumulated challenges. Many stalled infrastructure projects have now started moving," he said.
"India's journey is from policy paralysis to a global bright spot, as the fastest growing economy moves on, notwithstanding major challenges."
Jaitley also disagreed with Manmohan Singh's charges that his government ignored the opposition.
"On consultations with the opposition, almost all political parties except the Congress, support the GST (goods and services tax). The Congress has done a volte face," he said in his Facebook post, in a specific reaction to the former prime minister's interview to "India Today" magazine.
"Both the Parliamentary Affairs Minister (M. Venkaiah Naidu) and myself have discussed the GST with every senior Congress leader in Parliament. Is the Congress position on 'Constitutional cap' not motivated by real politics?," he queried.
"The economist in Dr. Singh should advise his party that tariffs are not provided for in the Constitution. This is what nation expects from the senior leaders and statesmen like former prime ministers."
One of the Congress demands in passage of GST is to specify the rates in the amendment bill.
Manmohan Singh had said in the interview that he had asked Modi to reach out to the opposition, but he found that he never spoke on key issues. "There has been no serious discussion with the Congress, whether it is on foreign policy or domestic policy and even on the GST."The former prime minister said there was also a crisis of confidence in the present government, one which the people don't believe in. He also said when industrialists meet ministers, they do hear the right things, but when they come out, they feel nothing much has changed.
But Jaitley said under Modi key issues are being addressed transparently, natural resources are allocated without corruption, industrialists no longer have to visit the North Block, and environmental clearances are dealt with routinely.