New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday took a dig at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for calling the 1991 economic reforms “half-baked”, saying that “thank god” Manmohan Singh did not serve “over-cooked and unpalatable food” like demonetisation, multiple-rates GST and “savage taxes” on petrol and diesel.
Speaking at an event organised by the Hindi Vivek Magazine, Sitharaman had said on Thursday that the 1991 economic reforms undertaken by the then Congress government as “aadhe-adhure reforms” (half-baked reforms), where the economy was not opened in the right way but as per the strictures imposed by the IMF.
Singh was finance minister in 1991 in P V Narasimha Rao government.
Reacting to her remarks, Chidamabaram said:”Thank God, Dr Manmohan Singh did not serve over-cooked and unpalatable food like Demonetisation, multiple-rates GST and savage taxes on petrol & diesel.”
“We thank the FM for revealing that she took bakery and cooking courses in University,” the former finance minister said.
Hitting back at Chidambaram, BJP’s IT department in-charge Amit Malviya said the reforms in 1991 were truly half-baked, as they were driven out of “compulsions” and not “conviction” or a desire to reform.
“Congress’s economic policies in the first four decades led to a situation where we had to sell and pledge our gold to fund our expenditure! It was under Atal Ji when reforms like the New Telecom Policy, FRBM, several market reforms, NHAI, Idea of GST were conceived, out of ‘conviction’,” Malviya said.
“Congress was and will always remain a talk-shop with no real intent to take decisions. You are the face of that incompetence,” he said in response to Chidambaram.
In her remarks, Sitharaman had said no progress happened till the BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the prime minister and that his focus on infrastructure building, roads and mobile telephony helped us a lot.