Jaitley questions Left’s economic model

New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday questioned the economic model pursued by the left parties, especially in West Bengal, claiming the data indicated “extremely inadequate” living conditions of minorities in the state.

“Even though you had a large population (of minorities) and political stability, the growth rates were not adequate because the structural economic model followed was the one that did not ensure high growth rates,” Jaitley said.

He was delivering a lecture organised by the National Commission of Minorities on ‘Economic Empowerment of Minorities’ here.

The West Bengal even today continues to be a revenue-deficit state despite being a major state, he added.

“Why is it that in a state like West Bengal, which has otherwise seen political stability since Independence, except for a brief period from 1967 and 1971, and which has a sizeable minority population, data indicates the living conditions which are far less than adequate,” he asked.

He said one of the reasons possibly could be that “in terms of growth of economy, the state followed a model where growth levels were not fast enough”.

Jaitley said: “I think it is a question which should be discussed.”

The minister said the Centre is committed to advance the cause of minorities and other disadvantaged groups.

Post-1991, improvement in conditions of deprived sections of society has been faster compared with pre-1991 period but it has not been uniform, he said.

Education is the key to improve their condition faster and uniformly and similarly skill development is another means to achieve it, Jaitley said.

Speaking on the occasion, union Minister for Minority Affairs Najma Heptulla said that effective implementation of schemes and ensuring uniformity in development are the two guiding principles for ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ programme of the Modi government.

She said ‘Nai Manzil’ and ‘Hamari Dharohar’ schemes launched by the government are being received well and have started yielding results.