Slogans, populism cannot guide economic policymaking: Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (Photo: PTI)

Slogans and populism cannot guide economic policymaking, finance minister Arun Jaitley said Friday, underlining the need for policy debates based on hard facts and data crunching.

"Debate and policy in economic areas can't be guided by just slogans or populism, it has to be based on hard facts (and) analysis which are supported by data analysis itself," the minister said.

Jaitley was addressing a wealth awards conference organised by the news portal Moneycontrol through a video link.

The remarks come two days ahead of the crucial central board meeting of the RBI, amid a public spat between central bank and government on certain policies.

While government and its nominees on the board want RBI to pay heed to the troubles of small businesses to create additional financing for them, liberalise the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework for public sector lenders and give a breather to the troubled non-bank lenders, the conservative central bank seems to be opposed to the proposals.

Admitting that the country has suffered due to the poor quality of debates, Jaitley said: "it has to be a national endeavour to improve the quality of debates, particularly in economic areas."

He also said wealth creation is a "challenge" in these times as also in the future.

He regretted that there was a time when we were focused only on slogans and pitched for the alternative of increasing productivity instead. The focus on increasing productivity can lead to "equity and a more prosperous environment".

"The future is not going to be the redistribution of poverty, but the distribution of wealth, which, of course, is determined by who is able to generate wealth itself," he said.

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