Dear Mr Jaitley, Please Exit FB To Avoid Misadventures With Facts

The Congress party’s Pawan Khera responds to Arun Jaitley’s scathing FB post on Rahul Gandhi.

5 min read
Image used for representational purposes.

Whenever this government faces tough questions and criticism from the Opposition, Narendra Modi and his cheerleaders resort to either whataboutery or vilification. Ministers in this government, no matter how senior and experienced, need to frequently go through a loyalty test by resorting to low level criticism of Rahul Gandhi.

The nation saw interesting visuals on Wednesday, 6 June, in which BJP President Amit Shah was seen meeting Madhuri Dixit, Ratan Tata et al, while Rahul Gandhi was seen hugging farmers in Mandsaur. The two visuals tell a tale that the 5,000-odd crores of publicity expenditure of the ruling government can neither explain nor undo. If the Modi government has taken some visible initiative towards ameliorating farm distress, the visuals certainly don’t seem to bear evidence of that.

Jaitley’s Tall Claims on FB

While reading Shri Arun Jaitley’s Facebook post I realised that this government's make believe 'all is well' construct rests on rather flimsy grounds.

Jaitley claims in his post that the Modi government has not waived a single rupee due from any industrialist. I wonder why the erudite Arun Jaitley ignored the written reply of his own MoS in the Rajya Sabha, where Shiv Pratap Shukla says that public sector banks have written off bad loans worth Rs 2.41 lakh crore between April 2014 and September 2017.

"As per Reserve Bank of India data on global operations, public sector banks have written off, including compromise, an amount of Rs 2,41,911 crore from 2014-15 till September 2017," the minister had said.

Here’s What’s Really a Crime, Mr Jaitley

Arun Jaitley further claimed in his post that the bulk of today's NPAs were loans given in the UPA years. Yes Mr Jaitley, the economy was buoyant enough for businesses to hope to grow. Giving and taking loans is not a crime.

What is criminal is bringing a functioning economy to its knees, thereby converting loans into NPAs.

The fact of the matter is, thanks to the fraud perpetrated on the economy by Vinod Rai and the then Opposition, both the coal and telecom sectors lie in ruins, and most of the NPAs belong to these sectors alone.

Even if you were to focus on NPAs under this government, the recent press release of the PIB dated 24 October 2017 says NPAs increased in June 2017 to Rs 7,33,137 crore.

"The NPA in 42 months increased by Rs 5,05,873 crore."

On the Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi saga, is it not true that the LoUs mentioned in the complaints of PNB to CBI were issued in 2017? What kind of intellectual dishonesty is it to label it a ‘scam carried forward from the UPA era’? Is it incorrect to suggest that from Vijay Mallya to Nirav Modi/Mehul Choksi to Jatin Mehta, the maximum number of wilful defaulters have fled India under the very watch of pradhan sevak Narendra Modi?

Arun Jaitley shockingly claims in his FB post that domestic mobile phone manufacturing has witnessed a huge surge under Modi.

The truth is that domestic companies like Micromax and Karbonn are bleeding to death, thanks to Chinese brands like Oppo and Xiaomi. In the second quarter of 2017, Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, Lenovo, Gionee, etc lapped up 50 percent of India's 109 million unit annual smartphone market, as against 15 percent a year ago.

Arun Jaitley’s ‘Alternative Facts’

Indian companies like Micromax, Intex, Reliance LYF and Lava had a share of 40 percent of the market, which went down to less than 15 percent. Assembling under CKD (complete knock down) cannot exactly be called ‘Made in India’.

And now let’s focus on employment, an area where the various arms of the government have resorted to contradictory methods of subterfuge in fudging data.

Some voices in the BJP try and pass off existing employees brought under EPFO (due to GST) as ‘creation of new jobs’. Others in the meantime claim that Mudra is the largest employment provider. The truth is that the number of larger-sized loans, of more than Rs 5 lakh that can create real jobs, is just 1.3 percent of the total loans disbursed.

Jaitley mentions without providing any data, that “there is growth in construction, expansion in manufacturing, an increased capital formation which indicates investment increase, large investment in physical infrastructure and increased investment in rural India. All these are job creating sectors.”

The truth is that India's GDP at 6.5 is at a 4-year low. Growth of real Gross Value Added (GVA) has fallen from 6.6 percent in 2016-17 to 6.1 percent in 2017-18. Manufacturing Sector GVA grew by just 4.6 percent in 2017-18 as against 7.9 percent in 2016-17. Banking Credit Growth is at 5.3 – lowest in 63 years. New project announcements by Indian companies are at a 13-year low. Stalled projects have risen from 766 in 2014 to 925 in Jan 2018 (valued at 13.25 lakh crores).

Trade deficit is at a 3-year high. Our exports stood at 190,501,1.08 crores in 2013-14. Fiscal deficit today is at 107,323,9.74 crores.

A Prime Minister Who Needs History Lessons

Mr Jaitley, please go through this data and consider logging out of Facebook permanently, lest you commit more mistakes in your misadventures with facts. Mr Jaitley, you have the honour of working under a prime minister whose responses are shorter than the interpreter's scripted translation.

A prime minister who thought Taxila was in Bihar. A prime minister who thinks climate change is nothing but our body’s reaction to ageing. A prime minister who claimed Bhagat Singh was kept in an Andaman prison. 

A prime minister who said Porus was defeated on the banks of the Ganges. The battle with Alexander never went beyond the Jhelum river in (now Pakistan) Punjab. A prime minister who claimed at Davos that 600 crore voters in India gave total majority to his party. A prime minister who recently appointed General Thimayya as army chief and Krishna Menon as defence minister respectively, in 1948.

Isn’t questioning Rahul Gandhi’s perfectly sound concerns about your government, on the grounds of lack of knowledge, a bit rich coming from you?

To respond to your question on ‘How Much Rahul Gandhi Knows’, he knows what you did last (four) summer(s), and he knows what the voters will do next summer. To quote Isaiah Berlin, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing”.

(The writer is former political secretary to Sheila Dikshit, and is with the Congress party. He tweets @Pawankhera. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!