NEW DELHI: Playing down criticism by industrialist Rahul Bajaj, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Hardeep Puri said on Monday that the government did listen to criticism and was always ready to respond to it.
The businessman, chairman of the Bajaj group, told Home Minister Amit Shah during an award function that there was “an atmosphere of fear” and people were afraid of criticising the government’s policies.
His statement was endorsed by Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, who said the government treated India Inc as “pariahs” and did not want to hear any criticism of the economy. The statement gained support on social media and was lapped up by the opposition. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her collegue Hardeep Singh Puri took to social media to defend the government.
“I was on the dais. It was with the attitude that we are willing to hear criticism and respond to it, rather than say you can’t speak at all. The home minister’s response shows we are quite happy to hear,” Sitharaman said, replying to a debate on the economic slowdown in the Lok Sabha
This was milder than her earlier tweet. “Questions/criticisms are heard and answered/addressed. Always a better way to seek an answer than spreading one’s own impressions which, on gaining traction, can hurt national interest,” said Sitharaman.
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted: “There are societies in the world which are governed by fear, but a society where citizens can weave fake narratives & hurl invectives at the govt cannot be classified as one governed by fear, it is a society characterized by fair dose of indiscipline.”