Home / Opinion / Online Views /  Manmohan Singh’s double negative cannot be denied

The use of the double negative in a sentence is usually sign of a reluctant acceptance of a truth universally acknowledged, and it is in this context that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement in the Rajya Sabha on the economic situation in the country has to be seen.

“It cannot be denied that the country is faced with a difficult economic situation," he said.

Note the double negative: cannot be denied.

He could have simply said: “The country faces a difficult economic situation". That would have been direct.

He could have said: “The country faces a difficult economic situation and it is partly of our own making". But that would have been direct and honest.

Instead, he went on to say “I do not deny some domestic factors, too, are responsible", and then listed all the external factors (the US’s monetary stance, tensions in Syria) that are contributing to it.

Singh’s unwillingness to speak directly could well be an indication of his and his government’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the state of the Indian economy.

To be sure, external factors have contributed and all emerging markets, including India, have been hit, but Singh’s government hasn’t exactly earned plaudits for its governance of the economy.

Rash spending, misplaced policies, unstable tax laws, and the absence of efforts to build infrastructure and capacity and also make Indian exports competitive have all played a part in bringing the India story to a premature end.

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