NEW DELHI :
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that the current state of Indian economy was deeply worrying. Singh's comments came just hours after India's GDP figures for the September quarter decelerated to 4.5%, lowest in 25 quarters, from 5% in the preceding quarter as manufacturing output contracted.
Singh's remarks just two days after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's response on the state of the economy during a discussion in Rajya Sabha. On Thursday, Singh was speaking at the valedictory address of the national conclave on economy organised by the New Delhi based Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies.
"The state of our economy is deeply worrying. But today, I will argue how the state of our society is even more worrying and that is a fundamental reason for the precarious state of our economy," he said while speaking at the valedictory session on Thursday. He addes that his comments should be seen as coming from a "concerned citizen" and economist to ensure that politics is kept out of the discussion.
Singh added that the current climate of 'fear' needs to change to a climate of confidence for the economy to start growing again robustly. "There is no one today that can deny the sharp slowdown in India’s economy and its disastrous consequences, particularly for farmers, youth and the poor. But it is my belief that mere changes in economic policy alone will not help revive the economy," he said.
Singh's comments come at a time when the Congress party led opposition is trying to corner Prime Minister Narendra Modi led union government on the issue of economic slowdown. His comments are likely to be raised by the Congress party to back its attack on the union government in the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
"No amount of subterfuge can hide the performance and analysis of a $3 trillion market economy of 1.2 billion people. Economic participants respond to social and economic incentives, not diktats or coercions or public relations," he added.
Singh has been vocal about the union government's handling of economy in the past five years including his scathing views on demonetization and slowdown.