Conceding that there were some “weaknesses” in his regime, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that the Narendra Modi government should stop blaming the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) for every economic crisis, as five years was sufficient time to come up with solutions.
Addressing a conference ahead of Maharashtra elections, he was replying to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s comments in the US, where she said the banking sector passed through its worst phase during the tenures of Singh and former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government should have learnt from the UPA's “mistakes”, and provided “credible solutions”, Singh said.
Had the NDA government learnt from the mistakes, fraud-accused jeweller Nirav Modi and other loan defaulters would not have fled with public money, or the banks' situation would not have gone from “bad to worse”, Singh said. “You cannot claim year after year that the fault lies with the UPA , you have been in office for five-and-half years and that is long enough period for a government committed to public welfare to do some credible things.”
‘$5-trillion target by 2024 difficult’
Singh said he didn't see the economy reaching the $5-trillion target by 2024, as envisioned by the PM, with growth declining year after year. He also said the economy is in a “vicious slowdown” which can be salvaged only if the growth rate shoots up. "Economy is in a vicious slowdown now. With the way it is going, right now what is feasible is 5.5 to 6 per cent in the short term. But our economy needs a growth rate of 8 to 10 per cent for employment generation," Singh said.