13 September 2019
New Delhi: Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal's "gravity" gaffe refuses to die down. Former RBI governor Raghuraman Rajan on Friday launched a scathing attack on Goyal dissecting every word of his remark and saying that he fails to understand the "gravity" of economic slowdown.
"When you don't understand the #GRAVITY of the economic slowdown, the words stumble and reasoning becomes feeble. If someone thinks that maths doesn't help understanding gravity and economics, then it's a sign that you are hiding the actual statistical data. Newton must be smiling," Rajan said in tweet.
Goyal had on Thursday inadvertently erred in attributing the theory of gravity to Albert Einstein while asking the industry not to get into nitty gritties of calculations of economic growth, which requires a rate of 12 per cent to achieve the envisaged $5 trillion economy mark.
While speaking at the Board of Trade meeting under his Ministry, Goyal said: "Let's work with a new spirit of enthusiasm believing that nothing is impossible. And together we can achieve that $1 trillion target in five years. Don't get into the calculations (that to have a Rs 5 trillion economy, the country will have to grow at 12 per cent today, but it is growing at 6-7 per cent. Dont get into that maths. Because maths never helped Einstein discover gravity.. if he had only gone by structured formulae, and what was past knowledge, I don't think there would have been any innovation in this world."
Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity is one of the towering achievements of 20th-century physics. While Newton's law of universal gravitation states that every mass attracts every other mass in the universe, and the gravitational force between two bodies is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
The Minister was roasted on Twitter for his erroneous linking, with netizens mockingly asking, "What did Newton discover, if Einstein discovered the theory of gravity?"
Goyal later tried to wriggle out of the embarrassment. "This is a very mischievous and baseless narrative sought to be presented at my closing comments at the Board of Trade meeting this morning. The comment that I made had a certain context. Unfortunately some friends have sought to remove the context, pick up one line and create a very mischievous narrative," he said.
On Friday, however, Goyal accepted that he had "made a mistake". "Due to a slip of tongue, I made a mistake yesterday. We all get opportunities to make mistakes. In fact, Einstein said and I quote, 'A person who never made a mistake. Never tried anything new.' I am not among those, who are afraid of making a mistake. As soon I realised the mistake, I tried to explain the context in which I had made the statement. Unfortunately, the context took a backseat and the mistake was highlighted. I thought I should take this opportunity to accept on a public platform that I made a mistake," Goyal tweeted.
Earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too faced the wrath of Twitteratti following her comment linking the millennials' preference for Uber and Ola cabs to the auto sector crisis. The sarcastic hashtag "#BoycottMillennials" quickly became a top Twitter trend. Currently in a grip of slowdown, the GDP posted a six-year low of 5 per cent growth in Q1 of the current fiscal.