Manmohan Singh criticised the government led by PM Narendra Modi for the economic slowdownNew Delhi: Manmohan Singh, responding to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s comment blaming him for the bank crisis, said today that the government “is obsessed with trying to fix blame on its opponents” instead of finding solutions. The former Prime Minister also referred to the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) bank crisis, which has impacted 16 lakh investors, and said the BJP governments at the centre and Maharashtra were unwilling to adopt people-friendly policies.”I have just seen the statements by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. I won’t like to comment on that statement, but before one can fix the economy, one needs a correct diagnosis of its ailments and their causes. The government is obsessed with trying to fix blame on its opponent, thus it is unable to find a solution that will ensure revival of the economy,” Manmohan Singh said at a press conference in Mumbai in the run-up to the Maharashtra election on Monday.”When I was in office what happened did happen. There were some weaknesses. But you can’t claim that the fault lies with the UPA always. You have been in office for five years. Mainly passing buck to UPA is not enough,” said Dr Singh, who was Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014.On Tuesday, Nirmala Sitharaman had, at an event in the US, said she held the Manmohan Singh-Raghuram Rajan combination responsible for subjecting public sector banks to their “worst phase”.Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has blamed Manmohan Singh and Raghuram Rajan of creating stress in public sector banks”I have no reason to doubt that Rajan feels for every word of what he is saying. And I’m here today, giving him his due respect, but also placing the fact before you that Indian public sector banks did not have a worst phase than when the combination of Singh and Rajan, as Prime Minister and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), had. At that time, none of us knew about it,” the Finance Minister had said at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York.She said it was during Mr Rajan’s stint as RBI chief that loans were given just based on phone calls from crony leaders. “Dr Singh was the Prime Minister and I’m sure Dr Rajan will agree that Dr Singh would have had a consistent articulated vision for India,” Ms Sitharaman said, drawing chuckles from her audience.Ms Sitharaman was responding to a question on Mr Rajan’s recent comments seen to be directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that only “internal cohesion and economic growth” and not “majoritarianism” will help strengthen India’s national security.Bad loans at public sector banks (PSBs) rose from Rs 9,190 crore in 2011-2012 to Rs 2.16 lakh crore in 2013-2014, according to the RBI. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in May 2014.The government has been firefighting criticism over a slowdown in the economy that has hit sectors from manufacturing to finance.Both the former Prime Minister and the RBI Governor are fierce critics of the economic policies of the government, including demonetisation in November 2016 that they say broke the back of the cash-dependent informal economy.Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.
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