Mumbai: For a statesman who was not known to speak during his tenure as the Prime Minister in United Progressive Alliance (UAPA) government, Dr Manmohan Singh came down heavily on Narendra Modi-led government for the economic slowdown. Singh said, instead solving the economic crisis the Bharatiya Janata Party government is busy in passing the buck on to the Congress-led UAPA government. He suggested Modi should focus on creating jobs and reduced indirect taxes.
"The government needs to at least fix the economic crisis, if they can not diagnose the problem. They are blaming UPA for everything, instead of improving the situation. You may score some debating points by passing the buck on the UPA, but this headline management will not help to strengthen the economy," said Singh. He added, "The main problem in our economy is the shortage of demand."
Singh was addressing a select group of people comprising of intellectuals, businessmen, economists and activists, at Wankhede Stadium, in Mumbai on Thursday. The talk was organised by the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee and Mumbai Regional Congress, called, " Words of Wisdom on Indian Economy by Dr Manmohan Singh".
Singh further countered the finance minister Nirmala Seetharam for blaming the Congress for all the problems. "If you think we have committed mistakes, then you can correct our mistakes. You had more than five years, so you cannot keep blaming the UPA government all the time. People will not get misled by such tactics, now you should tell the public what measures you have taken to improve economy," Singh said.
When asked how grave the problem of unemployment is right now? Singh said, "In the last few years, instead of creating two crore jobs, more jobs have been destroyed. We have to reverse the economic slowdown, they need to focus on the labour intensive industry, which will help to generate jobs. We will also have to ensure that imports do not eat into our own economy." He added, jobs cannot be created unless India achieves the economic growth rate of 8 to 10 per cent. "Currently, the Indian economy is around Rs 2.7 Trillion and if Modi government wants to make this economy as Rs 5 Trillion one, India should have growth rate of 10 to 12 per cent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already rung the warning bell by forecasting the Indian economy growth rate at 6.1 per cent instead of 7.3 per cent," he asserted.
Singh said, since the Modi government came to power, the economic growth rate has been declining every year. He said India will never be able to achieve the target of Rs 5 Trillion economy.
When Singh was asked if anybody from the Modi government has sought his guidance on the economy? Singh pointedly said, "I am not that fortunate enough." He added, Seetaraman met him before presenting the budget and he extended his good wishes.
Demonetisation led to slowdown
While answering if India's economic slowdown was due to the impact of global recession, Singh pointedly said the BJP government is responsible for this mess. "The BJP government has contributed largely to this distress. Demonetisation was the main contributing factor to derail India's economy. If there were no demonetisation, the global slowdown would not have affected our economy. There is hardly any reputed institute which could find any benefit in the decision for demonetisation. The IMF has recently reiterated my stand, which said, there was nearly 1.5 to 2 percentage points loss in the national income, due to the demonetisation," said Singh.