Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the Narendra Modi-led government does not acknowledge the word “slowdown” and so, is unlikely to find credible answers to take corrective action, PTI reported.
Singh was speaking at the launch of former Planning Commission chief Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s book Backstage in Delhi. “I think these issues will be debated and should be debated because we have today a government that does not acknowledge that there is such a word as slowdown,” the former prime minister said. “I think this is not good for our country.”
“If you do not recognise the problems that you face, you are not likely to find credible answers to take corrective action,” he added. “That is the real danger.”
Singh praised the former planning commission deputy chairperson’s book and said it will be of great help to the growth of the country. He said that the book talks about the good as well as the weak points of the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance dispensation.
“Montek has also pointed out that contrary to what the ruling group may say, today the $5 trillion economy by 2024-’25 is wishful thinking,” the Congress leader said. “Also there is no reason to expect that farmers’ income will be doubled in a three-year period.”
The Indian economy has been sliding over the past two years. India’s Gross Domestic Product growth rate slipped to 4.5% in the second quarter of 2019-’20, the lowest in six years. The fall in the growth rate is primarily due to a decline in consumer demand. Meanwhile, retail inflation rose to a near-six-year high of 7.59% in January this year.
A report on Tuesday said the National Statistical Commission has decided not to make a survey on consumer spending public, which shows a fall for the first time in over 40 years in 2017-’18. Earlier, the government had refused to release a survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation before the Lok Sabha elections last year, which showed that unemployment in 2017-’18 rose to a 45-year high of 6.1%. The survey was released following the polls, and the government promptly disowned it.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on February 11 said green shoots were visible in the Indian economy, and dismissed the Opposition’s concerns about Gross Domestic Product growth slowing down.