"Government Dealing With India Inc At Arm's Length": Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

"Why is criticism seen as anti-national?" Kiran Mazumdar Shaw asked, supporting a similar statement by industrialist Rahul Bajaj over the weekend.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw backed Rahul Bajaj who said that criticism of the government was discouraged.

New Delhi:

The government must be open to suggestions instead of listening to only those it believes are supporters, industrialist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said today in the middle of a row over Rahul Bajaj's blunt question to Home Minister Amit Shah at an event and her own tweet that "India Inc is a pariah and the government dislikes criticism". The Biocon chairman said it was unfortunate that a positive response from Amit shah had to be followed by statements by various BJP leaders "which are not correct".

"There is an economic slowdown. They must listen to multiple voices and multiple quarters to look at what is possible. If they only listen to those voices who they think are their supporters and don't want to listen to others perceived as anti-national or anti-government, we are not going to get all the suggestions," Ms Shaw, 66, told NDTV.

"Right now, I still believe they are dealing with us at arm's length."

She described Rahul Bajaj as a strong voice of corporate India and said Amit Shah's reply was the "right response to hear" from the government.

But the Biocon CMD questioned why any criticism of the government was viewed as "anti-national" or "anti-government".

"India Inc was relieved that Mr Bajaj asked the question. I don't think anyone should attack Mr Bajaj. We should get on with reviving the economy. Let's not start making it a political discourse," said Ms Shaw, referring to BJP I-T cell chief Amit Malviya accusing her of a political motive in coming out in support of Mr Bajaj. "Ridiculous. I am extremely apolitical and critical of UPA-2," she stressed.

"Multiple factors are affecting our economy - low consumption, investment climate not improving and the impact on jobs. We need to focus on measures to stimulate consumption, investment and jobs," the Finance Minister said, adding that not many more voices would speak up now.

"This cloud will lift when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Finance Minister and Commerce Minister actually call a bunch of CEOs and has a roundtable discussion on the economy. It is very important for them to build that bridge between corporate India and the government."

In parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held up Mr Bajaj's straight-speak and Amit Shah's reply as an example that the government is willing to listen to criticism and try to respond.

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