Yashwant Sinha with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan at Gateway of India. (Express photo by Amit Chakravarty)
Criticising the Narendra Modi-led government for passing an "unconstitutional and unnecessary" legislation, former finance minister Yashwant Sinha said Sunday the Citizenship law was a ploy to divert people's attention from its failure to save the country from an economic slowdown.
Sinha, while addressing a gathering as a part of his 'Gandhi Shanti Yatra', cited former economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and said India was facing a "great slowdown with its economy headed for intensive care unit (ICU)".
"All sections of the society are disenchanted with the functioning of the government. Those in the government are great experts at diverting attention. So, this unconstitutional, unnecessary Act is meant to divert the attention of the youth, farmers, women, so they get involved in opposing this and do not think about their daily difficulties," PTI quoted Sinha as saying.
"The Act was brought in because the economic condition of the country is at present in great danger," the former BJP leader further said at Surat.
Sinha's remarks come at a time when data released by National Statistical Office (NSO) shows that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is seen slumping to 5 per cent, the lowest since the 2008 economic crisis. This comes after India’s GDP growth rate slipped to a 26-quarter low of 4.5 per cent in July-September 2019, dragged lower by a contraction in manufacturing growth
The yatra, organised under the banner of Sinha’s organisation Rashtra Manch, will see him undertake a three-week yatra through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The yatra, which started from Gateway of India in Mumbai, will culminate at Raj Ghat in Delhi on January 30, Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary.
"The biggest catch of the Act, which is why this can't be implemented, despite being notified by the Central government, is that it talks about giving citizenship to persons who have suffered religious persecution or fear of religious persecution," Sinha told reporters.
"Where is the evidence of religious persecution? It is in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, but not in India. Will India get proof of this from neighbouring countries?" Yashwant Sinha asked.
"How will a child prove if their parents or grandparents who migrated here from neighbouring countries are dead? This Act cannot be truly implemented because it is unconstitutional, with an artificial cut-off date, is based on religion, and is impractical," he added.
On Thursday, after a two-hour-long meeting with a whole host of economists, sectoral experts and entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded sanguine about the Indian economy recovering from hitting a 42-year low in terms of nominal gross domestic product growth rate.
“The strong absorbent capacity of the Indian economy shows the strength of basic fundamentals of the Indian economy and its capacity to bounce back,” he said adding sectors like tourism, urban development, infrastructure, and agri-based industry have a great potential to take forward the economy and for employment generation.