Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently made a comment at the Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs that state-run banks had their ‘worst phase’ under the regime where Dr Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister and Dr Raghuram Rajan, the RBI Governor.
Today, at a press conference in Mumbai, Dr Manmohan Singh chose to give his response. Launching his attack on the BJP-led government ahead of the state elections next week, the noted economist dissected the economic claims of the ruling party. He said that the said that the current slowdown in the country coupled with government apathy has badly hit the Indian economy.
Commenting on the government’s $5 trillion target by 2024, the former Prime Minister said that, "I have said this publicly before that to reach a goal of five trillion dollar by 2024, as against 2.7 trillion dollar that we had in 2018, would require a growth rate of 10-12 per cent per annum. What is happening in BJP regime is that the government is faced with prospect of a declining rate of growth year after year".
Criticizing the much hyped ‘double engine model of governance’, Dr Singh said "The much advertised double engine model of governance on which BJP seeks votes has utterly failed. Mumbai and Maharashtra have had to face some of the worst effects of grave economic slowdown. Manufacturing growth rate of Maharashtra has been declining for four consecutive years. Maharashtra has witnessed one of the highest factory shutdowns in the past five years," he added.
On being asked about Nirmala Sitharaman’s comment, Manmohan Singh first replied ‘no comment’, then went on to state that ‘the government had even got its diagnosis wrong, which was needed to fix the economy.’
He continued with the line that ‘the BJP-led government was obsessed with trying to fix the blame on the opponent, and in the process was not able to find a solution to revive the economy’.
During the interaction, Dr Singh also mentioned farmer suicides in rural parts of the state had doubled, this despite the government’s claim of doubling farmer’s income. He also brought forth the issue of unemployment and said that industrial slowdown had led to youths settling for jobs with low pay.