Maths didn’t help Einstein discover gravity: Union minister Piyush Goyal
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers are not having a good time when it comes to handling the economic slowdown — both in public perception as well as in policy.
After Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s insistence that millennials are the reason behind the crisis in the auto sector, her colleague Piyush Goyal made an embarrassing gaffe while defending the government’s $5 trillion-economy dream.
On Thursday, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal was attending a Board of Trade meeting when he said something interesting — “Maths didn’t help Einstein discover gravity”.
Yes, we know you are confused too.
Piyush Goyal was defending the government against the allegations of the economic slowdown. He was trying to answer the question of how projected GDP growth rates don’t seem to align with the $5 trillion-dollar economy mission.
The commerce minister went into a rant against the GDP calculations made by experts when he said this:
“Don’t get into the calculations that you see on television…don’t get into those maths. Maths have never helped Einstein discover gravity.”
“If he [Einstein] had only gone through structured formulae and what was past knowledge, I don’t think there would have been any innovation in the world.”
Hearing the statement, we also felt just like Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri who was sitting next to Goyal — slightly amused but thoroughly speechless.
Moreover, the statement by Piyush Goyal needs to be tackled at multiple levels —
First, Einstein didn’t discover gravity. Isaac Newton did. While Einstein may have not let “structured formulae” hinder him, his innovation was the theory of relativity, summarised by the formula E=mc2.
Secondly, the study of science is incomplete without complex mathematical equations. Even Einstein needed it. So did Newton.
And thirdly, calculation of GDP growth helps know the state of the economy and if reforms are needed.
Piyush Goyal’s bizarre defence has come at a time when India’s economic growth has slumped for the fifth straight quarter to an over six-year low of 5 per cent in the three months ended June as consumer demand and private investment slowed amid deteriorating global environment.
Having lost the tag of the world’s fastest-growing economy earlier this year, India’s GDP growth was behind China’s 6.2 per cent in April-June, its weakest pace in at least 27 years.
After the video in which Piyush Goyal made the Einstein comment went viral, the railways minister issued a clarification.
In a statement, Piyush Goyal said, “The comment that I made had a certain context. Unfortunately some friends have sought to remove the context, pickup one line and create a very mischievous narrative.”