MUMBAI: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tore into the Narendra Modi-led government on Thursday saying it is high time it stopped the practice of blaming the UPA regime for every problem it encounters.
On the current economic situation, the ex-PM who is also a renowned economist said the “economy is on a vicious slowdown” and there is no scope for the GDP to grow at a rate faster than 6% in the near term. Hence, the government’s $5-trillion target is likely to remain a non-starter, he reasoned.
Singh who was speaking to reporters here also blamed the “obsession with low inflation” for depressed commodity prices, leading to the “misery” of the farming community. The former PM , who held his press conference in the run-up to Maharashtra state elections, said, “I have just seen the statements by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. I won’t like to comment on that statement, but before one can fix the economy, one needs a correct diagnosis of its ailments and their causes.
The government is obsessed with trying to fix blame on its opponent, thus it is unable to find a solution that will ensure revival of the economy.”
The former PM was reacting to a recent statement by Sitharaman that public sector banks endured their worst phase during his and ex-RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s tenure. Conceding that there were some “weaknesses” in his regime, he said that doesn’t mean the current government can keep on blaming it forever.
“This government has been ruling now for five-and-a-half years. It should have learnt from our mistakes and provided solutions,” he said.
Slowdown has forced the government to come out with sector-specific measures and slash corporate tax to lift economy. While Singh welcomed such moves aimed at helping business, he said those alone won’t help because the problem is on the demand side. His prescription? Further relief in the form of cut in indirect taxes.