Nirmala Sitharaman sidesteps Manmohan Singh’s charge on economy slowdown

Nirmala Sitharaman was addressing the media after an interaction with tax officials at an event in Chennai.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON SEP 01, 2019 03:33 PM IST

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman refused to react to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on Monday morning urging the government to “put aside vendetta politics, and reach out to all sane voices to steer our economy out of a man-made crisis.”

“Has he said that? All right, thank you, I will take his statement on it. That is my answer,” said the finance minister.

Manmohan Singh blamed the Centre’s “all-round mismanagement” for the economic slowdown in the country. He said the Modi government’s policies are resulting in massive jobless growth.

“Rural India is in terrible shape. Farmers are not receiving adequate prices and rural incomes have declined. The low inflation rate that the Modi government likes to showcase comes at the cost of our farmers and their incomes, by inflicting misery on over 50% of India’s population,” Singh said.

Also Watch | Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces 4 mega bank mergers


Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement came while she was addressing the media after an interaction with tax officials at an event in Chennai.

When asked if the Centre acknowledges that there is an economic slowdown, Sitharaman said, “I am meeting industries and taking their inputs, suggestions on what they would want and expect from government, I am responding to them. I have already done this twice.I will do it more number of times.”

On Friday, Sitharaman announced consolidation of 10 state-run lenders into four bigger banks. Currently, there are 18 public sector lenders, compared to 27 in 2017. There will be only 12 after the mergers.

Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India will combine to form the nation’s second-largest lender. State Bank of India (SBI) is the country’s largest lender.

The second merger will be between Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank, which will make it the fourth-largest public sector lender. Union Bank of India will amalgamate with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank and Indian Bank will merge with Allahabad Bank.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth decelerated to the slowest pace in 25 quarters in the three months ended June 30 as a downturn in household consumption took its toll on key sectors, deepening concern about the anaemic state of the economy.

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