Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the statement by Rahul Bajaj, chairman of Bajaj Group, on Saturday that India Inc was afraid of criticising the Narendra Modi government “can hurt national interest, if it gains traction”.
“The Home Minister Amit Shah answers on how issues raised by Bajaj were addressed. Questions/criticisms are heard and answered/addressed. Always a better way to seek an answer than spreading one’s own impressions, which, on gaining traction, can hurt national interest,” Sitharaman said on Twitter. Sitharaman was reacting to a statement by Bajaj on Saturday that Indian business leaders were afraid of criticising the Modi government because they do not have the confidence that the government would appreciate any criticism.
In reply, Shah said India Inc had nothing to fear. “The Centre has been criticised in the media. If you are saying there is such an environment, we need to work to improve on this,” he said. On Sunday, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson of Biocon, seemed to endorse what Bajaj had said.
“Hope the government reaches out to India Inc for working out solutions to revive consumption and growth. So far we are all pariahs and the government does not want to hear any criticism of our economy,” she tweeted. Other senior ministers however, said there is indeed freedom of expression. “That Rahul Bajaj could stand up to Amit Shah’s face, express himself freely, and instigate others to join him clearly indicate that freedom of expression and democratic values are alive and flourishing in India, “ said Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri.