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Manmohan flays NDA over economy

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Chandigarh
May 07, 2004 06:47 PM IST

Ex-Finance Minister slammed NDA's claim of over 8% growth, saying growth had actually fallen during BJP's tenure.

Rejecting NDA's claim of over eight per cent growth under its rule, former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh said on Friday that the growth rate registered a fall during the tenure of the BJP-led government and it was not more than five per cent.

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"In the last five years the country witnessed a decline in the rate of growth. It is not more than five per cent," he told reporters here.

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During the NDA rule starvation deaths increased and farmers fell in debt trap. The investment rate stagnated except in road infrastructure programmes and Information Technology sector, Singha alleged.

"We now have a situation where the macro-economy is in doldrums and investment rates do not match upto eight per cent," he said.

Singh said even the foundation for BJP's much-hyped road programme was laid by the Congress. Same is the case in the IT sector where the competition was brought by the Congress.

It was the Congress which had restored a "bankrupt economy" back on the rails, he said. T "Congress has a comprehensive programme under which, if voted back to power at the Centre, we would look at the fiscal situation of each state and set up Reforms Commission which will give thrust to pace of development," Singh said.

He said that the challenge before the country was to create jobs at a pace that would provide employment to all in the next 10 years. "Our economy should grow at a rate of eigh to ten per cent to achieve the target of getting employment for all." (MORE)

Singh said most of the state governments were not able to promote investments in agriculture and industrial sectors due to "acute" fiscal situation.

"The domestic debt problem is serious in the country. If this debt burden is allowed to grow then the ability of the Centre and state governments to invest in agriculture and infrastructure development is not possible," he said.

However, Singh amditted that the country's foreign debt was "well managed".

Whatever be the predictions of exit polls, the country is heading for a change, he claimed. "I am confident that the Congress-led alliance will form the next government at the Centre."

On the recent controversy over waiver by the Centre of Rs 8500 crore loan to Punjab to fight terrorism, Singh said "whatever promises former Prime Minister I K Gujral has made on loan waiver needs to be honoured."

"If the Congress is voted to power it will provide relief to Punjab," he added.

He said that the biggest thrust should be towards labour- oriented industrialisation of Punjab. "Certain aspects of policies of the Centre are against Punjab," Singh said.

He said the interlinking of rivers as envisaged by the NDA was not "viable". "Before taking such a step, the impact it will have on environment should be looked into," he added.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

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