Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the Centre was “obsessed with” trying to blame its opponents instead of looking for solutions to revive the economy, NDTV reported. Singh’s remarks came a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the “worst phase” of the Indian public sector banks was seen during Singh’s time as prime minister and Raghuram Rajan’s tenure as the Reserve Bank of India governor.
“I won’t like to comment on that [Sitharaman’s] statement, but before one can fix the economy, one needs a correct diagnosis of its ailments and their causes,” Singh said at a press conference in Mumbai ahead of the Assembly elections in the state. “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 economy.”
Sitharaman had said that during Rajan’s time as RBI governor, loans were given on the basis of “phone calls from crony leaders”. The finance minister was responding to Rajan’s remark that India’s fiscal deficit concealed a lot and could push the country’s economy to a “worrisome situation”.
Singh on Thursday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Maharashtra government’s apathy was affecting local residents. He said the largest number of suicides were reported from the state. “Economic slowdown, government’s apathy is affecting aspirations and the future of Indians,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times. “Mumbai and Maharashtra have had to face some of the worst effects of grave economic slowdown. The state has highest factory shutdowns in last five years.”
Assembly elections in Maharashtra are scheduled for October 21 and the results will be announced on October 24.
Union minister Piyush Goyal responded to Singh’s remarks, saying the former prime minister should think about his failures. “Where he went wrong, why he couldn’t maintain a strong economy and give an honest government, why he was so helpless that he had to obey orders from 10, Janpath, [Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s residence] and had no capacity to take his own decisions?” ANI reported him as saying.
The Indian economy is currently battling a slowdown and government data showed that the country’s industrial output contracted 1.1% in August compared to the same month last year. The economic growth rate slipped to a six-year low of 5% in the April-June quarter. This was the fourth straight quarter of slowdown.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday revised India’s projected growth rate to 6.1% for the 2019-’20 financial year. In July, it had revised the country’s growth forecast from 7.3% to 7%.
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