Mumbai: Union Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday conceded that he had committed a gaffe by crediting the discovery of gravity to Albert Einstein instead of Issac Newton. The minister, who faced much trolling on social media for the mix-up, quoted Einstein to say that mistakes are not all that bad.
“Maths never helped Einstein discover gravity,” Goyal had said while discussing the economy during a press conference on 12 September. Goyal’s had made the comment in the context of GDP. He had said, sounding exasperated, that the present figures of GDP growth could not explain how India would attain the goal of being a $ 5 trillion economy.
Goyal’s remark of 12 September was odd on three counts. First, the discovery of gravity is generally attributed to Isaac Newton and not Einstein. Second, so far it has been nobody’s case that Einstein defied mathematics for his theory of relativity. Third, how the current 5% rate of growth can help the country reach the size of a $ 5 trillion economy defies commonsense.
Speaking at a function at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus here on Friday, the Union minister said he had made a mistake, and he admitted to it. “We all get the opportunity to make mistakes. I said Einstein instead of Newton. The same Einstein had said, ‘A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.'” Mercifully, the quote turned out to be rightly attributed this time.
“I am not someone who is afraid of making mistakes… the moment I realised my mistake, I made a clarification,” the BJP leader said. He said he was talking about the need to find innovative ways to build a $ 5 trillion economy in five years, of which exports would account for 20%. “Unfortunately, the context took a backseat and my inadvertent mistake was highlighted,” he said.
Goyal, however, had got a chance to admit the error in his interview with news agency ANI later, as reported by Sirf News yesterday, but there he merely stressed the context without naming Newton.