Manmohan Singh Goes All Guns Blazing on PM Modi in Bengaluru

Manmohan Singh talked about policies adopted by the current government how they have failed on various fronts.

5 min read

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attacked the Narendra Modi government’s handling of the Indian economy while speaking at a press conference in poll-bound Karnataka’s Bengaluru.

Singh focused on various issues, such as demonetisation, GST and banking frauds under the current government.

On GST and Demonetisation

While talking about the economic policies adopted by the NDA government, the former PM called GST and demonetisation ‘avoidable blunders’ and said that they have resulted in massive loss of jobs in the country.

“The losses the economy suffered due to these blunders have severely hurt our micro, small, and medium enterprise sector and have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs,” Singh said.

Along with this, exports as a share of GDP have plunged to a 14-year low. This at a time when the global economy is reviving and exports of other Asian nations like Vietnam have been able to grow very substantially.
Manmohan Singh, Former Prime Minister

“When we turn to the impact of the BJP government’s economic policies on the common man, another place to look is the petroleum sector. Petrol and diesel prices are at a historic high. This is in spite of lower international crude oil prices because the Modi government chooses to levy excessive excise taxes. Instead of passing on the benefits of low prices to the people, the Modi government has punished the people,” Singh said.

During our tenure, in the face of high crude oil prices, we cushioned the common people against their effects. Since the present government has assumed power, the international crude oil prices have declined to 67%. However, petrol and diesel prices have on an average increased 110% on both these products. Through constant increase in taxes and at the cost of the common man, the BJP government is projected to have earned over 10 lakh crore.

On Banking Frauds

On the rise in banking frauds in the recent times, Singh shed some light on the difference, saying that the quantum of frauds in the banking sector has almost quadrupled from Rs 28,416 crore in September 2013 to Rs 1.11 lakh crore in September 2017. He also alleged that people are losing faith in the banking sector.

“A healthy economy requires a well-functioning banking sector. Today neither are banks lending nor is the private sector borrowing in order to make new investments. The growth engines of the economy are spluttering. Perhaps it is here that the mismanagement of the Modi government is most evident,” he said.

The proportion of gross Non Performing Assets (NPAs) have trebled since we demitted office. The quantum of frauds in the banking sector has almost quadrupled from Rs 28,416 crore in September 2013 to Rs 1.11 lakh crore in September 2017. Perpetrators of these frauds meanwhile escape with impunity.

Singh further added, “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. Recent events which resulted in shortage of cash in many states were preventable. But the government is not doing its job.”

Instead of taking prompt corrective action, the government has been busy providing excuses and peddling conspiracy theories as to what led to the problem.

On Agricultural Sector

Manmohan Singh also criticised the present government for dismantling the Congress’ efforts over the years to make India the third largest economy in the world.

Under the UPA II, the average annual MSP growth rate was 19.3%, under the NDA government; this has fallen to 3.6%. The agri-GDP growth rate under NDA government is half of that achieved under the UPA. Agricultural exports, which had seen a five-fold increase under UPA, have since come down by 21%. At the same time, agricultural imports have risen by over 60%. 

He further asked PM Modi as to how he seeks to double the income when his government has failed to even match the record of UPA.

“When asked to explain reasons for economic ills of the last four years, Prime Minister Modi ji tends to blame everything on the 70 years of the Congress rule. He forgets the role of the Green Revolution ushered in by the Congress Government, which transformed Indian agriculture phenomenally and made the country a net exporter of food grains,” Singh added.

On Modi not Using UPA’s Pathbreaking Reforms

He further blamed Modi for not using the following pathbreaking social and economic legislations achieved by the UPA government:

  • Right to Information Act
  • Right to Education Act
  • Food Security Act
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
  • Right to Fair Compensation, Transparency in Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act for Farmers
  • Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (recognition of Forest Rights) Act
  • Grant of Special Status (371 j) to the backward districts of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
He (PM Modi) forgets to mention that policies of UPA I & II brought 140 million people above the poverty line during 2004-2014.

On Bengaluru and Siddaramaiah Government in Karnataka

The Congress leader also pointed out various reforms in Karnataka under the Siddaramaiah government like the SURE project, Metro connectivity and the Suburban Rail Project, that have brought about a tangible change to the lives of Bengaluru’s citizens.

Look at the contrast with the Congress government in Karnataka under Sri Siddaramaiah. Its Tender SURE project has transformed the way urban infrastructure is constructed, while ensuring that everyone, including pedestrians benefit. Metro connectivity has improved substantially. The state government’s offer to bear 80% of the costs has helped kickstart the Suburban Rail project. In spite of massive pressure due to growth in population and vehicles, the Karnataka government has brought about a tangible change to the lives of citizens of Bengaluru.

He then changed his focus to the Start-up Capital of India, Bengaluru.

Youth come to Bengaluru for its vibrant and open environment where entrepreneurship is thriving. The Siddaramaiah government’s innovative policies like ELEVATE has made Bengaluru the start-up capital of India. Siddaramaiah government’s support for industrialisation has made Karnataka the highest in translating investment intentions into reality, more than Gujarat or any other state. 

“PM Modi, after having promised 2 crore jobs a year to the people of this country has presided over a period where jobs have actually been destroyed. In the age group of 15-24, over 72 lakh jobs were lost over the last four years. It is normal in an economy to have sluggish job growth; this usually happens when external factors are unfavourable. However, job destruction in India is due to mismanagement on part of PM Modi ji and his team. True leadership creates opportunities, it does not destroy them,” Manmohan Singh added.

In the last two years, Bengaluru has moved from 12th to first position and ranked as the most dynamic city in the world.

Further pointing out the achievements of the Karnataka government, he said that Karnataka was the first state to announce a dedicated Start-Up policy, a Version 3 of Biotech Policy was announced to cater to the ever changing demands.

“This response to a dynamic environment is helps Bengaluru contribute $50 billion to India’s export basket. Credit for this goes to the many people who innovate daily and also the Congress government that has assisted this transformation.”

During the same period, growth of export of software services has declined nationally, touching a record low in 2015-16 at 7.3 percent. India’s position as an IT superpower is under threat. The situation could get worse if the Modi government fails in its duties at protecting H1, H4 and L1 visas for our professionals which are under threat in the United States. I urge the Prime Minister to utilise every possible channel to ensure that our professionals can continue to work in the US, which benefits both America and India.

Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim

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