- In a rather scathing attack, former PM Manmohan Singh has bashed the Narendra Modi government for its inability to take charge of positive global conditions to boost the rate of investment in India.
- \"The economy is not in as good a shape as it could be, despite the fact that the situation today is more favourable than it was when we, the Congress-led UPA, were in government,\" Manmohan Singh said.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh has criticised the Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre for its economic policies, saying it has not been able to benefit from falling oil prices and fortunate circumstances to boost the rate of investment in the country, reported IANS.
"The economy is not in as good a shape as it could be, despite the fact that the situation today is more favourable than it was when we, the Congress-led UPA, were in government," Manmohan Singh said in an interview to the India Today.
This was his first wide-ranging interview since he demitted office after the Congress-led government was voted out of power in the 2014 general elections and BJP took charge.
What Manmohan Singh said:
On economy and falling oil prices:
- The shrinking of the economy is worrying as the government is unable to get its act together to persuade the business community to take advantage.
- Oil prices had at the time (when the Congress was in power) gone up to $150 a barrel. Today, they are close to $30 a barrel. This has significantly helped India's balance of payments, the current account deficit has come down.
- It has also helped the government reduce its fiscal deficit. In the hands of a purposeful government, this could be an opportunity to step up investment in the economy in a big way.
The rate of investment in India now is "as low as 32 percent" - down three percent from 35 when the Congress was at the peak of its power. Yes, it did come down in the last two years of our government but as I said, we had the disadvantage of a sharp hike in oil prices which is not there today.
India is "obviously missing an opportunity" because the country is a net importer of commodities and needs to benefit from low commodity prices.
It helps the balance of payments. It helps the control of inflation as well as the fiscal deficit.
On BJP failing to deliver:
People don't believe the government. When they go and call on the ministers, they say the right things, but when they come out, all of them say that nothing much has changed.
The PM (Modi) talks about 'vikas' but in the growth rate, there is no significant difference from when we left power. In our last year, the growth rate was 6.9 percent while the latest figures today show that it is hovering around 7-7.2 per cent. So, despite the significant improvement in the balance of payments, the economy is not moving forward which was the aspiration and for which the government had made promises.