BJP messed up economy: Manmohan Singh

He also alleged that there were many issues on the foreign policy front that had been poorly handled by the Modi government.

PTI
New Delhi, Publish Date: Mar 19 2018 1:21AM | Updated Date: Mar 19 2018 1:21AM
BJP messed up economy: Manmohan SinghFile Photo

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today launched an all-out attack on the Modi Government, saying that while it had "messed up" the economy, it was spouting "jumla" (rhetoric) with pipe dreams about generating 2 crore jobs and doubling farm incomes.

Addressing the 84th Congress plenary session here, he lamented that 1.6 per cent of the country's GDP was spent on defence expenditure, which, he said, could not meet the challenges that the security apparatus posed.

He also alleged that there were many issues on the foreign policy front that had been poorly handled by the Modi government.  He said the two wings of the government in the state were working against each other and the atmosphere was “deteriorating day in and day out”.

The Modi government, he said, possibly feels that these issues will get sorted out on their own.  "That's not going to happen,” he added. The Congress moved in that direction, he said, whether it was with Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, or countries such as China.

"These problems are to be sorted out peacefully and not in an atmosphere of hostility and shouting at each other,” he said.

On the economy, which he claimed grew by 7.8 per cent under the UPA regime led by him, Singh rued that at a time the world economy had grown from 2.8 per cent to 3.8 per cent from 2014 to 2018, the Indian economy had "decoupled itself" from the world economy.

Quoting the Economic Survey, the former prime minister said it brings out the inadequacies of the BJP government's approach to solving social and economic problems.

Those were the challenges that the Congress had to take up again, he stressed.  “The BJP government has messed up the economy. When Modi ji was campaigning he made lots of tall promises. Those promises have not been fulfilled,” he said.

Singh said the BJP claimed in 2014 that if it came to power it would provide 2 crore jobs.  "But we have not seen even two lakh jobs," he said.

The “ill-thought and ill-conceived” demonetisation and “hastily put forward” legislation for GST had destroyed many jobs and created problems for the small and medium industry and the informal sector, both in terms of production and providing jobs, he said.  He also pointed out that Modi had talked of doubling farmers' incomes in six years.

“If you have to double farmers' incomes in six years' time, you need a growth rate of 12 per cent per annum as the minimum. And that is unthinkable," he said.

“Therefore, it is one of those statements ... Merely a jumla-type statement, which is not likely to be achieved," he said.

"Modi ji himself recognises that these are tall promises. Two crore jobs per annum is one of those promises which is again a pipe dream mooted by the Modi government,” he said.

Recollecting the history of the Congress, the former prime minister said it was the party that "made India what it is today, that led the freedom struggle and which guided India in the path of development after it became free". 

At a time when the Congress is seeking to get back to power and to create alliances with like-minded parties to oust the BJP in 2019, the former prime minister said the Congress party was once again being "invited and challenged to play a similar role". 

He also exuded confidence that the party would play the same “historic role” in the years to come under Congress president Rahul Gandhi's leadership and former party chief Sonia Gandhi's guidance, to carry forward the "process of sustained growth, development and social justice of the people of India". 

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