New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday slammed the government for the economic slowdown in the country and said that the hasty implementation of GST and demonetisation are the key reasons behind the ongoing slowdown.

He also called the government to come out of its habit of ‘headline management’ and said the “first step in a crisis is to acknowledge that we are facing one.”    

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In interviews with Dainik Bhaskar and the Hindu Business Line, Sigh predicted that this slowdown would be “prolonged” as it is cyclical as well as structural. Calling for structural reforms to address the slowdown, he said the government was wasting its historic mandate by not focusing on economic growth.

“We cannot deny that India is facing an economic crisis. Already, a lot of time has been lost. Instead of wasting its political capital by adopting a sector-wise piecemeal approach, or on monumental blunders like demonetisation, the time has now come for the government to carry out the next generation of structural reforms and promote sectors that can generate mass jobs,” said Singh in the interview.

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The former prime minister also suggested five ways for the government to revive the economy:

1. Rationalisation of GST, even if it leads to loss in revenue in the short term.

2. Liquidity crisis needs to be addressed. He said that not only public sector banks but NBFCs are also suffering.

3. Government needs to identify new export markets opening up due to the ongoing trade war between US and China.

4. Focus on increasing rural consumption and reviving the agriculture sector. He said government can take clues from Congress manifesto, which lays down several measures to free up agriculture market.

5. Revive major job-generating sectors such as textile, auto, electronics and subsidised housing. He said easy loans need to be provided for this purpose, especially to MSMEs.

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Singh further said that without having an overwhelming mandate, he and his government was successfully able to counter the 1991 and 2008 global financial crisis.

“This is a government with an overwhelming mandate, a full majority, not once, but twice in a row. When I served as the Finance Minister, or even as the Prime Minister, we did not have such huge mandates. Despite that, we achieved a lot, and successfully navigated through both the 1991 crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis,” Singh said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma