Will you speak only for poll purposes? Nirmala Sitharaman slams Dr Singh
Nirmala Sitharaman compared data on FDI and inflation during the Modi government with Manmohan Singh's dispensation to assert that economic indicators are much better now.

Will you speak only for poll purposes? Nirmala Sitharaman slams Dr Singh

A day after former prime minister Manmohan Singh released a video message on YouTube attacking the BJP government’s economic and foreign policies in the run-up to the Punjab elections, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called him a PM who is remembered for the “notorious status of India being brought to a fragile five economy”.

She also asked if Singh could speak “only for electoral purposes”.

Referring to recent revelations about former National Stock Exchange chief Chitra Ramkrishna having taken guidance of a ‘Himalayan Yogi’ in running the country’s biggest stock exchange and said the former PM was not even aware how the bourse was being run for so long when he was in power.

In his video message on Thursday, Singh said the Narendra Modi government cannot escape the responsibility for “mismanaging” the country by blaming the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Also read | BJP govt still blaming Nehru for people’s problems: Dr Manmohan Singh

In a scathing attack on the Narendra Modi government, Singh said that the short-sighted policies of the central government, have caused people to suffer from falling economy, rising inflation and unemployment.

Singh said the BJP government did not understand economics. “Because of their wrong economic policies, unemployment is at its peak, farmers and entrepreneurs, women, and students are all facing problems,” he said.

Taking on the former PM on Friday during an interaction with journalists, Sitharaman said, “A Prime Minister who is most remembered for having brought India to a fragile five economy… a prime minister who could not control inflation for 22 months continuously, a prime minister who saw capital fly away from this country–how come this Prime Minister today all of a sudden remembered about the Indian economy? Is it only for the Punjab elections?”

She also accused those attacking the government over inflation for spreading confusion over the issue. Citing GDP numbers, Sitharaman said the value at market prices stands at Rs 232 lakh crore now whereas it was Rs 110 lakh crore seven-eight years ago. Foreign Exchange Reserves are at $630 billion, from $275 billion seven years ago. Average inflation during 2013-14 was 9.5%, while it is 5.23% now, she added.

The BJP dispensation, Sitharaman said, takes immediate measures to control prices of essential items, and that is why inflation figures have been much better under its term than the Congress-led UPA government. She said that the UPA government was hit by a policy paralysis and hence couldn’t take timely decisions.

She also faulted the methodology of an Oxfam report, which claimed that inequality and poverty figures had worsened in India, and said it does not take into account various welfare initiatives of the government.

The formula used by Oxfam is wrong as it should be on grounds that are truly substantial, she said. “The report in question is based on flawed metrics,” she said.

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