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Jaitley slams Congress for opposing its own economic policies

Annapurna Singh, DH News Service, New Delhi, Feb 9 2018, 23:32 IST
Arun Jaitley. PTI file photo.

Arun Jaitley. PTI file photo.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday took on the Opposition Congress for the economic mess it created in over five decades of its rule and said he was "stunned" when his predecessor P Chidambaram questioned why this year's Budget reduced corporate tax to 25%, something he himself had suggested as a finance minister.

"It was strange that he raised the issue during the discussion. I was stunned. When Chidambaram was finance minister, he drafted the new direct tax code in which he advocated bringing down the corporate tax rate to 25% so that firms invested more and created jobs," Jaitley said, replying to the part of Budget discussion in the Rajya Sabha.

In a strong rebuttal to Chidambaram's 12 posers during the discussion on the Union Budget, Jaitley said the NDA government improved almost all economic growth parameters after it came to power, be it health, MNREGA, subsidies or government finances.

He said the Congress has a peculiar habit of opposing the reforms they themselves had started, whether it was Aadhaar or reduction in corporate tax or anything else.

"Today you are criticising all those policies you yourself had started. I am forced to ask what are your economic policies and is there any consistency in them," Jaitley said in his reply.

On the issue of the biggest health scheme which too was criticised by the Opposition, he said it was just a beginning and that the Niti Aayog was readying a fine print of how the cost will be shared between the Centre and the states. His remark was countered by many members, including Trinamool Congress' Derek O'Brien, who said many states like West Bengal were already running a successful health scheme and the Centre was merely "thrusting" on them its own model.

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