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BW Businessworld

'Questions About India's Growth Are Legitimate'

The ruling party should take into consideration what happened in 2011 and 2012. They did not allow a single session to be conducted, says Former member of Planning Commission, Saumitra Chaudhuri

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Former member of Planning Commission, Saumitra Chaudhuri says that questions raised by rating agencies on India’s growth path and reforms are legitimate. In an interview with BW Businessworld, the former member of the Prime Minister’s advisory council also points out how BJP is getting a taste of its medicine as Opposition continues with its agenda of obstructing Parliament. Below is the edited excerpts:

The Congress is strongly demanding the dispute resolution mechanism in the bill. But during UPA they had understood the futility of this and dropped it from the bill. Why?
This is the constitutional amendment bill and not the GST bill. The GST bill will come afterwards. I have no idea about the background of conflict resolution, the dispute will be between the states and the centre. The GST council may not be an appropriate body to dissolve disputes itself. If it could do so, there will not be any dispute. It could be argued in the council, if the dispute cannot be settled in council then only have a dispute resolution mechanism and it should be independent.

The BJP is blaming the opposition for stalling parliament. But as Opposition leader Arun Jaitley had always said, the running of parliament is the government's duty.

Who do you blame for Parliament washouts?

The ruling party should take into consideration what happened in 2011 and 2012. They did not allow a single session to be conducted. So this is the classic case of someone who has done it for two and half years is now coming and complaining that this is not fair. Secondly. The way GST constitutional amendment bill issues was taken up has led to a lot of bad blood. There was a GST select committee setup with Rajya Sabha. They wrote dissent notes which were dismissed out of hand by the chairperson without discussion and that it would have come to a confrontation part which is fair.

BJP has been facilitating entry of FDI. But these are actually executive decisions. What about reforms? Do you see BJP in a position to pass the Land bill?

It is okay somebody forms executive, somebody forms legislation. There is only one instant where executive went into parliament that is issues of FDI in multi brand retail the government BJP insisted it should go to parliament then they insisted it should go to upper house. It got rejected and it has not even implemented. Sometimes even legislative decisions get stalled as government changes and as executive decisions can also be successful there is no demerit in doing it.

The Planning Commission was replaced with NITI Aayog with the promise of promoting federalism. But states complain that it’s been a failed effort so far. Your views.
Essentially from the very beginning Planning Commission was the voice of the states. It was a place where states had a say. All states had complainted against the Planning Commission too. Some of them were genuine, some wanted more money than allotted. Early every year we used to discuss the requirements of the states and how to meet them. The implementation fell short as we ran short of time and the government changed. I have very little idea about what NITI Aayog is doing now, but if the states are saying it is worst than before, then it is a serious matter.