Industrialist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has backed fellow industrialist Rahul Bajaj after he urged the Narendra Modi government to be more open to criticisms of its policies and decisions. In a tweet posted on Sunday evening, Ms Shaw said she hoped the central government would reach out to India Inc. and work together to revive a stuttering Indian economy; government data on Friday showed India's GDP slowing to 4.5 per cent in the July-September quarter - the lowest in over six years. Last month global credit ratings agency Moody's cut India's growth forecast to 5.6 per cent for 2019/20.
"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," Ms Shaw tweeted.
Rahul Bajaj was widely praised after he told Home Minister Amit Shah: "...if we criticise you there is no confidence that you will appreciate that". Mr Bajaj, 81, a Padma Bhushan awardee, was speaking at a private event in Mumbai organised by business newspaper Economic Times.
"UPA government mein kisi ko bhi gaali de sakte the (in the UPA government, we could criticise anyone we wanted to)," Rahul Bajaj was quoted as saying, adding, "You are doing good work but if we criticise you there is no confidence that you will appreciate that. I may be wrong. But we all feel that..."
His comments echoed those made by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The veteran Congress leader, who is also a trained economist, has periodically offered PM Modi advice on the state of the economy. Last week he asked PM Modi to change the climate of society in the country "from one of fear to that of confidence".
In his response to Rahul Bajaj, Mr Shah denied allegations there was an atmosphere of fear.
"No need to fear about anything. The Narendra Modi government has been criticised continuously in media. But, if you are saying that there is such an environment, we need to work to improve this," Mr Shah responded.
The Congress praised Rahul Bajaj for his courage and integrity.
It can be difficult to speak truth to power. Circumstances however, have made doing so increasingly necessary.#RahulBajaj stands out for his courage & integrity & for calling a spade a spade. pic.twitter.com/O6d7EWtiCd— Congress (@INCIndia) December 1, 2019
Simultaneously Amit Malviya, the BJP's in-charge of national information and technology cell, also tweeted, pointing out that Mr Bajaj being able to speak his mind showed the Modi government was, in fact, open to criticism.