The former PM and noted economist cited demonetisation, GST and GDP growth to slam Modi govt, while reminding people of the UPA’s achievements.
Bengaluru: The Congress in Karnataka Monday unleashed one of the party’s brightest minds, former Prime Minister and economist Dr Manmohan Singh, to counter his successor Narendra Modi’s allegations about the failure of the Siddaramaiah government on the economic and policy front.
Addressing the media in Bengaluru, Singh questioned the central government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying: “Through constant increase in taxes and the cost of the living for the common man, the BJP government is projected to have earned over Rs 10 lakh crore. Where has the money gone?”
In a thinly-veiled attack on Modi, Singh said, “decision makers should pay careful attention to policies and must not act on whims and fancies”.
Demonetisation and GST implementation a ‘failure’
During the Gujarat assembly election campaign in December 2017, Singh had called demonetisation “organised loot”, and a “perfect gamble” to legalise the plunder of money in the country.
Reiterating that demonetisation and the subsequent implementation of GST as ‘avoidable blunders’, he said micro, small and medium enterprises had been badly hit by these “whimsical decisions”. He also criticised the Modi government for making business “a nightmare”.
Singh called the BJP’s claims about improving GDP growth “false”, and pointed out that the NDA government’s figure of 7.3 per cent was well below the 7.8 per cent growth that his UPA government registered over 10 years.
Speaking about Modi’s ‘Gujarat model’ — which promises radical economic reform including job creation, decrease in the fiscal deficit, ease of doing business, and pumping enough money to revive the manufacturing sector — Singh called it a complete disaster. “The ‘intention’ of the Modi government, which they claim is good, has actually resulted in massive losses for our country,” he said.
Loss of trust in banks
The Modi government had unveiled a Rs 2.11 lakh-crore plan to recapitalise public sector banks. It has also been speaking about intensifying a crackdown on black money after collating information of nearly 5,800 shell companies. But the former PM called it mere eyewash.
“The economic mismanagement of the Modi government — and I say this with great care and responsibility — is slowly eroding the trust of the general public in the banking sector. The recent events of shortage of cash in many states was preventable,” Singh said. He also accused the government of giving excuses and peddling theories instead of resolving the issues.
Rising fuel prices
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is participating in a padayatra in Kolar district to protest against the rising fuel prices. Singh said it was the government’s fault that petrol and diesel prices had reached historic highs, despite lower international crude oil prices. “Instead of passing on the benefits of low prices to the people, the Modi government has punished the people,” he said.
‘Don’t forget what we did’
Singh criticised Modi’s tactic of blaming the UPA government for all the economic ills. “He has forgotten the role of the Green Revolution, and how our government phenomenally transformed the agricultural sector, making India a net exporter of food grains. He has no use for the achievements of UPA-1 and UPA-2, which made some pathbreaking social and economic policies,” he said.
He listed the Right To Information Act, the Food Security Act, and the right to fair compensation, transparency in land acquisition and rehabilitation, among others, as the achievements of his government. Singh also highlighted that the Telugu-speaking region of Karnataka, known as ‘Hyderabad-Karnataka’, was granted special status under Article 371 (J) during the UPA’s rule.