29/11/2019 5:39 PM IST | Updated 02/12/2019 8:28 AM IST

GDP: Subramanian Swamy Says Nirmala Sitharaman Doesn’t Know Economics

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has surrounded himself with yes-men while the Indian economy heads for a tailspin followed by a collapse, said the veteran politician and Harvard-trained economist.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A file photo of Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy.

NEW DELHI — Days after Nirmala Sitharaman defended the Narendra Modi-led government’s record on the economy, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member and Harvard-trained economist Subramanian Swamy said the finance minister “doesn’t know any economics”.

“If you look at the economy with a discerning eye, you see that growth may have come down,” Sitharaman said in the Rajya Sabha on November 27. “But it is not a recession yet and won’t be a recession ever.”

Swamy, however, said, “Do you know what the real growth rate today is? They are saying that it is coming down to 4.8%. I’m saying it is 1.5%.”

On Friday, two days after this interview with HuffPost India, latest numbers released by the Finance Ministry said the economy grew at 4.5%, the lowest in six-and-a-half years.

“If you see the press conferences, she is handing the mic to civil servants to answer,” Swamy said of Sitharaman to HuffPost India. “What is the problem in the country today? Poor demand. Supply is not the problem. But what did she do? She relaxes taxes for corporates. Corporates are flushed with supply. They will just use it to write off their debts. That is what they have done.”

Part of the problem, Swamy said, was that Prime Minister’s Modi’s advisors were too afraid to tell him the truth. 

“The prime minister knows nothing about it. He is told ‘wonderful growth rate’.” Swamy said.

Swamy himself has long eyed the position of Finance Minister, but has been overlooked by Prime Minister Modi. “He doesn’t want me,” Swamy said of Modi. “He doesn’t want any minister to talk back to him, let alone in public, but in private cabinet meetings too.”

(Read HuffPost India’s full interview with Subramanian Swamy on India’s economy here.