New Delhi: Former union minister in the NDA government Arun Shourie has termed the Narendra Modi government's economic policy as "directionless" and also described the prime minister's claim of the government having bagged Rs.2 lakh crore through the coal mine auction as "misleading".
[Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Arun Shourie with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a file photo.]
In an interview to Headlines Today news channel, Shourie, who is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a veteran journalist, said the government has made only Rs.6,200 crore "receipt" from the auction of the 20 coal mines and not Rs.2 lakh crore.
"The Rs.2 lakh crore would come when companies that have won the auction produce the coal at the rated capacity for 30 years -- but (the way it is claimed) it seems as I've got it just now," Shourie said.
Modi has claimed his government has made by Rs.2 lakh crore by re-auctioning just 20 mines of the 204 coal mines that were auctioned.
Asked by the host Karan Thapar if the government was "misleading" the people with the claim, Shourie agreed and added that the government was "managing headlines".
"They are managing headlines, unfortunately there is too much focus on managing headlines in regard to the economy and it is going to rebound," he said.
Stating that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is incompetent to handle the economic issues, Shourie said there was "not enough reaching out to experts who know about the subject" and that there was "too much confrontation with people, like the Supreme Court, the Reserve Bank of India", which was leading to uncertainty.
He also criticised the government's tax handling, which he said has "intimidated" corporates and said not enough attention paid to reform.
"The big picture is missing and the big pieces are missing," he said.
Arun Shourie also said Narendra Modi's policy on Pakistan lacked clarity and he is under the illusion of an out-of-box solution to the vexed issue.
"Like all previous prime ministers, Modi was prone to the belief he could change the relationship. The PM must free himself of the illusion of out of box thinking", Shourie said.
However, Shourie praised Modi's overall achievement in foreign policy, saying: "It is the Modi government's great success and there is a theme which runs through the improved relationship with America, Japan, Australia, France and Canada as well as neighbourhood countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh which is the recognition of China as India's principal challenge.
"Modi must guard against lack of follow up. That has been the traditional besetting fault of Indian foreign policy and it must not happen again," cautioned Shourie, according to Headlines Today.