India economy in distress, warns ex-finance minister Yashwant Sinha

Yashwant Sinha Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yashwant Sinha is considered to be one of India's most successful finance ministers

Former Indian finance minister Yashwant Sinha has created an uproar by saying the Indian economy is in "distress", putting himself at odds with the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) of which he is a member.

This was India's slowest quarter since the BJP was elected in May 2014.

Experts say the controversial currency ban, and the Goods and Services tax are partly responsible for sluggish growth.

Mr Sinha said the former was an "unmitigated disaster".

Considered to be one of India's most successful finance ministers, he published his opinions in a newspaper column on 27 September.

He has since doubled down on his criticism, accusing the government of "patting their own backs" while the economy went from bad to worse.

In an interview to the Indian Express, he alleged that BJP MPs had complained to him that "no-one was being allowed to speak or raise issues at meetings".

In response to his column, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called Mr Sinha "a job applicant at 80," while speaking at a book launch in New Delhi on 28 September.

Mr Sinha too had targeted Mr Jaitley specifically in his column - he wrote that the job required "undivided attention", which Mr Jaitley could not guarantee.

He was referring to the fact that Mr Jaitley is in charge of two ministries - finance and corporate affairs.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption India's controversial currency ban sparked countrywide protests

Mr Sinha's column appeared just days after an opinion piece by another former finance minister, P Chidambaram, criticising the government's taxation of petrol and diesel as "organised loot and legalised plunder".

Mr Chidambaram, a member of the opposition Congress party, also tweeted Mr Sinha's column, praising him for speaking "truth to power".

Mr Jaitley accused the two of "acting in tandem".

It's unclear if the party will take any action against Mr Sinha. His son Jayant is the minister of state for civil aviation in the BJP-led government.

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