Domestic factors also reason for crisis: PM - The New Indian Express

Domestic factors also reason for crisis: PM

Published: 30th August 2013 08:46 AM

Last Updated: 30th August 2013 08:46 AM

Faced with Opposition ire in both Houses of Parliament over the rupee’s slide, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday admitted that the country is indeed in a difficult economic situation and has to contend with the global uncertainties, including the tensions in Syria which impact oil prices.

While Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj demanded a statement from the Prime Minister in the House, which is expected on Friday, agitated members created bedlam in the Rajya Sabha, forcing Manmohan to speak up. “There are several causes. I don’t deny that some domestic factors too are responsible but there are also some problems created due to tensions that are on the horizon in Syria and they have inevitable consequences for oil prices,” Manmohan said.

He said the government has to “reckon with all these uncertainties.” “I need time to reflect on what I have to say, but would be happy to make a statement tomorrow,” said the Prime Minister. Earlier, no sooner had the House sat for the day, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley raised the issue of the depleting value of the rupee.

“It is a panic situation,” Jaitley said. “We want to know from the PM what he has in his mind for reviving the situation. In a democracy, the buck stops at the Prime Minister and he has to take the House and the country into confidence.”

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said the country had come back to “square one after 22 years of reforms under Manmohan Singh”. He said the economy was facing the same crisis as in 1991.

The Opposition members in the Lok Sabha too lit into the government for doing precious little to prevent the currency from being mauled in the exchange market. Sushma targeted Finance Minister P Chidambaram for blaming the rupee slide on the economic downturn and everybody from the Opposition to his predecessor, President Pranab Mukherjee.

“Day before yesterday there was a debate in the House on the state of the economy in which the Finance Minister gave a long speech enumerating 10 steps and maintained that if these are implemented the economy will improve. After this the confidence of the country and the investors should have increased by at least 10-20 paise but it has actually fallen,” she said.

“The government is not able to take a decision as the Cabinet does not have unanimity on these issues. They are a divided house.”

Whenever faced with a crisis, the government blames the next person, sometimes it’s A Raja and sometimes it’s Sharad Pawar. “We want a statement from the PM, who is a renowned economist,” she said. Ridiculing Chidamabaram’s 10-point agenda, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai said he was acting like Moses who gave his people 10 commandments.

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