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Economy deeply worrying, India can grow much faster: Manmohan Singh

'It is particularly distressing that the manufacturing sector’s growth is tottering at 0.6%,' says former PM Manmohan Singh (Photo: Vipin Kumar/HT)Premium
'It is particularly distressing that the manufacturing sector’s growth is tottering at 0.6%,' says former PM Manmohan Singh (Photo: Vipin Kumar/HT)

  • RBI’s move to transfer 1.76 tn to the govt as payout will test the resilience of the central bank, says Singh
  • Urging the govt to put aside the 'vendetta politics', Singh said it should reach out to all sane voices and thinking minds, to steer the economy out of this 'man-made crisis'

New Delhi: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday termed the state of the economy as “deeply worrying", adding the June quarter growth rate of 5% shows that India is in the midst of a prolonged economic 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," Singh said in a statement.

India’s June quarter growth is the worst in more than six years, with private consumption expenditure decelerating to an 18-quarter low.

“It is particularly distressing that the manufacturing sector’s growth is tottering at 0.6%. This makes it very clear that our economy has not yet recovered from the man-made blunders of demonetization and a hastily implemented GST," Singh said.

Urging the government to put aside the “vendetta politics", he said it should reach out to all sane voices and thinking minds, to steer the economy out of this “man-made crisis".

When asked about Singh’s remarks, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “Is Dr Manmohan Singh saying that instead of indulging in political vendetta, they should consult sane voices? Has he said that? All right, thank you, I will take his statement on it. That is my answer".

“I have no thoughts on what he said. He said it and I listened to it," Sitharaman said at a press conference in Chennai.

The former prime minister said the Modi government’s policies were resulting in massive joblessness. “More than 3.5 lakh jobs have been lost in the automobile sector alone. There will similarly be large scale job losses in the informal sector, hurting our most vulnerable workers," Singh said.

Singh said farmers are not receiving adequate prices and rural incomes have declined. “The low inflation rate that the Modi government likes to showcase comes at the cost of our farmers and their incomes, by inflicting misery on over 50% of India’s population," he added.

Holding that the Reserve Bank of India’s decision to transfer a whopping 1.76 trillion to the government as payout will test the resilience of the central bank, Singh said institutions are under attack and their autonomy is being eroded.

He said while the credibility of the official data has come under question under the Modi government, budget announcements and their rollback such as the super-rich tax on foreign portfolio investors have shaken the confidence of overseas investors. “India has not been able to increase its exports to take advantage of opportunities that have arisen in global trade due to geopolitical realignment. Such is the state of economic management under the Modi government," he added.

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