NEW DELHI: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday tore into the Narendra Modi-led government urging the latter to put aside its “vendetta politics” and do something about the deepening economic slowdown, which he described as “man-made”. Lamenting that the current state of economy was truly worrisome, he urged PM Modi to reach out to saner voices to steer the country out of the crisis.
The former PM singled out the two most disruptive moves by the Modi government — demonetisation and GST rollout — as the major reasons for the current slowdown.
“Our economy has not yet recovered from man-made blunders of demonetisation and a hastily implemented GST,” he said, adding that institutions were under attack and their autonomy was being eroded.
Singh said, “The state of the economy today is deeply worrying. The last quarter’s GDP growth rate of 5% signals that we are in the midst of a prolonged slowdown. India has the potential to grow at a much faster rate but all-round mismanagement by the Modi government has resulted in this slowdown.”
In a hard-hitting statement targeting the government, Singh noted that entrepreneurs, farmers and the youth deserve better treatment and that the country cannot afford to continue in this fashion. Singh said he was particularly worried about the manufacturing sector, whose growth has come to a screeching halt at 0.6%.
Speaking on RBI’s recent transfer of `1.76 lakh crore to the government, Singh — a former RBI governor – said the move will test the resilience of the central bank. “There is a gaping hole in tax revenues. Tax buoyancy remains elusive as businessmen are hounded and tax terrorism continues unabated. Investor sentiments are in doldrums. These are not the foundations for economic recovery,” he said.
Attributing the massive joblessness to the Modi government’s policies, Singh said most vulnerable workers will be hit by the large scale job losses. “Rural India is in terrible shape as farmers are not receiving adequate prices and rural incomes have declined,” he said.