Other States

BJP’s double-engine model of governance has failed, says Manmohan Singh

PMC Bank depositors greet former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as he arrives for an event organised by the State Congress Committee in Mumbai on Thursday.

PMC Bank depositors greet former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as he arrives for an event organised by the State Congress Committee in Mumbai on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: vivek Bendre

Problems facing Maharashtra are man-made, solutions lie in inclusive policies: former PM

Mumbai and Maharashtra have had to face the worst effects of the ‘grave’ economic slowdown in the country, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here on Thursday, urging voters to choose the Congress-NCP in the Assembly polls on Monday as the BJP’s much-advertised ‘double engine’ model of governance (being in power at the State and the Centre) had failed to deliver.

“A lot of problems facing Maharashtra today are man-made and the solutions lie in policies which are inclusive and people-oriented. It is my sincere belief that we need to go back to these time-tested measures if we are to ensure gainful employment for our young people, men and women, farmer welfare, and a better standard of living for all the people of Maharashtra,” Dr. Singh said, lamenting the State’s decline from being the most investor-friendly to one which topped on farmer suicide numbers.

The aspirations of millions have been hit by the slowdown in the economy combined with the government’s apathy and incapability, Dr Singh said, pointing to every third person in urban areas being jobless, with a higher rate of unemployment for educated individuals. The Centre’s obsession with low inflation and import-export policies are inflicting misery on farmers, he said.

“It is thus no surprise that many of our young men and women are taking up low paying jobs. Investors are shifting to other states. The distress pervading our rural areas will only add to the unemployment problem as migration increases,” Dr. Singh said, underlining that manufacturing sector growth has been falling for four straight years in Maharashtra.

This has coincided with imports from China rising by more than ₹ 1,22,000 crore in the last five years, much of which is accounted by chemicals, fertilisers, electronic goods and automobiles — products manufactured in Maharashtra.

“Maharashtra has witnessed one of the highest factory shutdowns in the past five years. I was told of the gloom prevailing in the auto-hub of Pune, India’s largest auto-manufacturing center. Similar problems are affecting Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur, and Amravati which were once vibrant industrial centres. As demand and production have contracted due to economic mismanagement, business sentiments are down across the state and many firms face closure,” the former prime minister said.

Stressing that Maharashtra levies the highest VAT on petroleum products, the former PM said that in addition, the Narendra Modi government’s decision to levy excessive excise duties has punished people despite low international crude oil prices.

On the BJP’s poll manifesto assuring a Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar, Dr. Singh said even Indira Gandhi had unveiled a postal stamp on him.

PMC Bank

Dr. Singh termed the distress faced by 16 lakh account holders of PMC Bank as ‘unfortunate’ and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Reserve Bank of India to work out a solution

“I hope when Parliament meets in mid-November, this issue (of ensuring the safety of public deposits in banks) will figure prominently in its deliberations,” the Rajya Sabha MP said, adding that the government may consider offering relief through the PM’s Relief Fund for account holders awaiting critical medical surgeries.

Recalling the Congress-NCP government’s performance in the State, Dr Singh said: “The Bandra-Worli sea link is one example of the many spectacular works Congress could ensure. At a time of agri-distress, we delivered an effective loan waiver and ensured rural growth. I can say without a doubt that the State will progress much better under the leadership of Congress-NCP.”

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 6:47:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjps-double-engine-model-of-governance-has-failed-says-manmohan-singh/article29729875.ece

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