Maths never helped Einstein discover gravity: Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal doubles down following social media criticism, asserts his comment was taken out of context

September 12, 2019 03:45 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 08:12 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. File

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. File

Days after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attributed the slump in the automobile sector to millennials using Ola and Uber, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said people should not be too concerned with GDP maths, since “maths never helped Einstein discover gravity”.

“Don’t go by all these calculations you see on TV, that if the country has to become a $5 trillion economy, it will have to grow at 12% but right now it is currently growing at 6-7%,” Mr. Goyal told reporters at a media interaction following a meeting with the Board of Trade. He made his remarks in the context of encouraging exporters to help the country meet the ambitious target of $1 trillion in exports in five years.

“Don’t get into those maths; those maths never helped Einstein discover gravity,” he said. “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,” Mr. Goyal, a qualified chartered accountant, added.

While the export target was challenging, it was possible to achieve it if the exporter community worked together with renewed spirit, according to Mr. Goyal.


Reacting to social media criticism over his remarks, the minister later asserted that his comment had had a certain context and that people had sought to create a “very mischievous narrative” by removing this context.

“I was making a comment about encouraging Indian business to aspire for a $1 trillion export target in five years,” Mr. Goyal told the news agency ANI. “To encourage and enthuse the exporter community, the comment that I made had a certain context. Some friends have sought to remove the context, pick up one line and create a very mischievous narrative.”

His statement comes at a time when growth in the Indian economy has slowed to a multi-year low. The government’s first estimate for GDP growth in the first quarter of fiscal 2019-20 was pegged at 5%, the slowest pace in six years.

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