Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman hits back as Manmohan Singh criticizes Modi-led govttext_fields
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday launched a scathing attack against former prime minister Manmohan Singh for his criticism of the Modi government's handling of the economy.
The Finance Minister said the former PM is more remembered for having brought India to "fragile five" and rampant inflation during his term.
She further accused the former PM for not doing enough to bring the economy on track during the UPA regime and of trying to pull down India at a time it is counted as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
"I have great regards for you (Singh). I did not expect this from you. And I am hurt," Sitharaman said, wondering if he is suddenly speaking about economy because of "electoral consideration" of the Punjab assembly polls.
She also compared data on export, FDI and inflation during the Modi government with Mr Singh's dispensation to assert that economic indicators are much better now.
Noting that inflation has reached levels in developed economies of the US and Europe not seen in decades, the finance minister said India is also impacted by global scenario.
But our government takes immediate measures to curb rise in prices, she said, adding that the UPA government was hit by "policy paralysis" with a then senior minister like Pranab Mukherjee spearheading 33 Group of Ministers.
She also faulted the methodology of a 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 finance minister was responding to Manmohan Singh's video message in Hindi that was severely critical of the Narendra Modi government for its handling of the economy, diplomacy and politics.
Targeting the central government on a host of issues, including the farmers' agitation, foreign policy, price rise and unemployment, Singh said ahead of the Punjab elections on February 20 that the BJP's nationalism was "fake" and was based on the British policy of "divide and rule".
"They (BJP-led govt) have no understanding of economic policy," Manmohan Singh said. "Rich people are getting richer while the poor people are getting poorer," he added while slamming the central government for the current economic state of affairs in the country.
Former Prime Minister went on to criticise the government and its 'failure' on foreign policy saying, "China is sitting at our border & efforts are being made to suppress it."