Former Prime Minister and top economist Manmohan Singh said the Narendra Modi government are not ready to accept the fact that India is going through an economic slowdown. He also described Modi government’s target of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 as a “wishful thinking”.
He was present at the release of Backstage: The Story behind India’s High Growth Years, authored by former Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia where he answered the questions of the reporters.
“We have today a government that does not acknowledge that there is such a word as slowdown. I think this is not good for our country because if you don’t recognise the problems that you face, you are not likely to find credible answers to take corrective action,” he said.
“Montek has pointed out that contrary to what the ruling group may say today, a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25 is wishful thinking,” he said.
He went back to the challenges that he faced during the 1991 economic crisis in India as the Finance minister in the cabinet of Prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. There was a strong opposition of the reforms that were introduced at that time and on top of that the business community formed the “Bombay Club” to resist liberalisation.
“Why are you taking such a reckless path and you represent a government that has not sought a vote of confidence? And how can you take such an important decision without a vote of confidence?’ I had to tell President Venkataraman that ‘Mr. President, if we wait for the vote of confidence, I will have nothing to sell’,” Dr. Singh said.
“If Montek and P. Chidamabaram were not there at the crucial time in 1991 in the Ministry of Commerce, the story of reforms would have been less favourable,” he finished.