Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar refuted Raghuram Rajan's statement that the decision-making process is centred entirely around the Prime Minister's Office. The ministers also indicated that the ongoing economic slowdown is primarily due to transformation and will be reversed soon.
In his recent article 'How to fix the economy' for India Today magazine, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had listed extreme centralisation as one of the reasons behind India's economic troubles. He had stated that the centralised approach, "along with the absence of empowered ministers and the lack of a coherent guiding vision", ensures reforms pick up when the PMO focuses on them and lose steam when its attention is diverted to other pressing matters.
"Not just decision-making but also ideas and plans emanate from a small set of personalities around the Prime Minister and in the Prime Minister's Office. That works well for the party's political and social agenda... It works less well for economic reforms," Rajan had written.
Responding to Rajan's remarks during a session at Aajtak Agenda 2019, Javadekar said: "Raghuram Rajan can express his opinion but does not know the facts."
Goyal, who was also part of the session, seconded Javadekar and added that PMO does not interfere in the decision-making at all. The Commerce Minister stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has very good ties with his cabinet ministers.
"I also believe that the country has got such a hardworking prime minister who participates in meetings and gives his views. That is a very good thing. But as far as economic decisions are concerned, the PMO does not have any role in that and it does not interact with us on such matters," Goyal said.
"However, when we feel there is a need, our prime minister is always ready to meet us, even on short notice. We can talk over the phone. I think that is a very good arrangement that the relation between different cabinet ministries and the PMO is so good," the Commerce Minister added.
The two ministers also criticised former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian for changing his stance on India's economic growth. Subramanian had recently stated India is facing a Great Slowdown and its economy is headed to the ICU.
"Till the time he was in position (chief economic advisor) and kept getting opportunity, he could not see all of this? You have all of his (Subramanian's) past economic surveys as well. I think you should ask him the question. Suddenly after leaving India, what is the reason behind the sudden disapproval of his own past estimations. And, also, what does he want to achieve by doing so?" Goyal said.
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