I wasn't the prime minister who was afraid of press: Manmohan Singh takes dig at PM Modi

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 19 December 2018, 07:42 AM
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and PM Narendra Modi (PTI/file)
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and PM Narendra Modi (PTI/file)

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday came out with all guns blazing against the Narendra Modi government, saying he wasn’t afraid of talking to the press when he was the PM, and his book 'Changing India' spoke for itself. Singh also said the relationship between the government and the RBI is like of "husband-wife" and the difference of opinions must be resolved in a manner that the two institutions work in harmony.  

“People say I was a silent Prime Minister. I think these volumes (his book 'Changing India') speak for themselves. I wasn't the PM who was afraid of talking to the press. I met press regularly and on every foreign trip I undertook, I had a press conference on return,” said Singh.

The Opposition and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi often take swipe at Prime Minister Modi for not holding a press conference during his tenure. 

The former prime minister, who is also a renowned economist, said India has witnessed an average growth rate of about 7 per cent since 1991. "Despite all hiccups, hurdles, India will get its action right... India is destined to be a major powerhouse of global economy," he said.

Speaking on farm loan waivers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Singh: “We have to honour that commitment, that is a part of the election manifesto of the states which went to polls recently. So, the chief ministers have announced that.”

Singh hoped that the Reserve Bank and the Centre would find ways and means to work in harmony with each other. The comments came against the backdrop of Urjit Patel resigning as RBI Governor earlier this month amid a tussle between the central bank and the finance ministry on matters ranging from the appropriate size of reserves the central bank must hold to the easing of lending norms for sectors such as small and medium enterprises.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of his six-volume series of books titled 'Changing India' in New Delhi, Singh, who is also a former RBI governor, said one has to respect the autonomy and the independence of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). "At the same time, I would say the relation between government and RBI is like husband-wife relationship," Singh said.

Following the resignation of Patel, the government appointed former Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, who spearheaded normalisation of economy post demonetisation of November 2016, as new RBI Governor. "Whosoever is Governor of RBI, I wish him well," Singh said.

The former PM and Rajya Sabha member further said "we need" a strong and independent RBI which has to work in close cooperation with the central government. "I do hope and pray that the government and the RBI find a way to work together," he added.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 09:14 PM
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