A war of words broke out between Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday over the World Bank’s report on ease of doing business. India was ranked 100th among 190 countries in the global list for 2018, jumping 30 spots.
Addressing his second rally of the day in poll-bound Gujarat’s Bharuch district, Gandhi criticised both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaitley, accusing them of destroying the country’s economy.
“India needs a certificate from the country, and the people of the country are saying Modi and Jaitley have failed,” Gandhi said in Bharuch. “Yesterday, Arun Jaitley said some foreign organisation has certified that India has considerably improved in ease of doing business. Is he living in real or a dream world?”
Earlier in the day, he had disagreed with India’s ranking and said there was no “ease of doing business” in India. “Demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax regime have destroyed everything,” he said at Jambusar. “Did Arun Jaitley go to a small shop owner and ask what is the ease of doing business? For this government, what is spoken abroad is the truth, but the reality of India is false.”
The Congress leader also said that everyone knew the reality of how easy or difficult it was to run businesses in India. “But it is a good thought to keep one self happy, Dr Jaitley,” he had said on Twitter.
In response, Jaitley took on the Congress over the number of alleged scams during the United Progressive Alliance government’s tenure. On Twitter, the finance minister retorted: “The difference between the UPA and NDA – The ease of doing corruption has been replaced by the ease of doing business.”
The World Bank report released on Tuesday said that India was among the “top 10 improvers” in the 2018 rankings because it has implemented reforms in eight of the 10 indicators. However, India stood at a low 156 on the parameter of starting a business, and 181st on granting construction permits in the report. It came in 119th in paying taxes, 164th for enforcing contracts and 103rd in resolving insolvency cases.