4.5% GDP growth unacceptable and worrisome: Former PM Manmohan Singh
Terming the GDP growth rate of 4.5% in the July-September quarter unacceptable and worrisome, former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday called upon his successor Narendra Modi to set aside what he called his “deep-rooted suspicion” of society, and also advocated the need to change the current climate of fear to enable the economy to grow robustly again at 8% per annum.
“Mutual trust and self-confidence are the bedrock of societal transformations and transactions that foster economic growth. Our social fabric of trust and confidence is now torn and ruptured. There is a palpable climate of fear in our society today,” he said, delivering his valedictory address at a conference here.
“Many industrialists tell me they live in a fear of harassment by government authorities, bankers are reluctant to make new loans for fear of retribution and entrepreneurs are hesitant to put up fresh projects for fear of failure attributed to ulterior motives. Policymakers in government and other institutions are scared to speak the truth,” Singh said. Singh added that there is no one who can deny the sharp slowdown in India’s economy and its disastrous consequences, particularly for our farmers, youth and the poor.
“The GDP figures released earlier today point the growth rate of our economy in the second quarter of current fiscal year, is as low as 4.5%. This is clearly unacceptable, and the aspirations of our people want that this country should grow at 8-9% per annum...It is my belief that mere changes in economic policy will not help revive the economy. We need to change the current climate in our society from one of fear to one of confidence for our economy to start growing again at 8% per annum,” he said.
He said public trust in independent institutions such as the media, judiciary, regulatory authorities and investigative agencies has been severely eroded. “The root cause of all this is the government’s policy doctrine that seems to suspect every industrialist, banker, policymaker, regulator, entrepreneur and every citizen. The Modi government seems to view everything and everyone through a tainted prism of suspicion and distrust,” he said. For economic growth to revive, he said, it is very important that the government sheds its current doctrine and begins to trust farmers, entrepreneurs and citizens at large.
“With an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha and low global oil prices, this is a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity to catapult India to the next phase of economic development and create new jobs for hundreds of millions of our youth. I urge the PM to set aside his deep-rooted suspicion of our society and nurse us back to a harmonious, confident and mutually trustworthy society that help our economy soar,” Singh said.
After the GDP numbers were announced, Gopal Agarwal, the BJP’s spokespeople on economic affairs tweeted, “All d #macroeconomic parameters, which r important 4 economic stability; like #FiscalDeficit #ForeignExchangeReserve #CurrentAccountDeficit #FDI #Inflation in healthy terrain. Concerns like private consumption & govt expenditure hv increased, showing govt measures bearing results.”