Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has urged the Centre and Maharashtra government to put their act together and provide credible and effective solution to the depositors of the crisis-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank.
He also expressed the hope that the issues faced by PMC Bank depositors would be resolved soon.
"I appeal to the chief minister of Maharashtra, the prime minister and the finance ministry to put their act together and provide credible and effective solutions to the depositors," he said.
Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, in Mumbai, on PMC bank matter: I expect the govt of India, RBI and the govt of Maharashtra to put their head together and provide a credible, pragmatic and effective solution to this case where 16 Lakh depositors are trying for justice. https://t.co/f3m5MFY0Bz
" ANI (@ANI) October 17, 2019
Singh was in Mumbai as part of Congress party's election campaign in the run-up to the Maharashtra Assembly polls on Monday.
Addressing the media in Mumbai on Thursday on the topic 'Words of Wisdom on Indian Economy', Singh suggested that PMC Bank depositors who had health problems and were unable to access their funds should be provided assistance from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.
On being asked if the government has reached out to him for suggestions, he said: "I have not been that fortunate. However, the finance minister met me before the Budget and I gave her my good wishes."
Singh spoke on a variety of issues at the press meet.
Economic slowdown: Mumbai and Maharashtra have had to face some of the worst effects of the economic slowdown, said Singh, adding that Maharashtra has seen the maximum number of factory shutdowns in the last five years. He said that there was deterioration in the economic climate in the country under the present NDA government. Singh refused to give any solutions to the present crisis saying that 'outlining what should be done will take me a long time'.
Unemployment: Singh pointed out that in the urban areas, every third person is jobless. He said due to lack of jobs and opportunities, many people were taking up low paying jobs. This, along with distress prevailing in urban areas, will add to the problem as migration increases. He suggested that intiatives should be taken to allow for the growth of labour-intensive industries.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier said that the country's public sector banks had the "worst phase" in the UPA-era under the combination of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan.
Delivering a lecture at the prestigious Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in Washington on Tuesday, Sitharaman said, "Indian public sector banks did not have the worst phase than when the combination of Singh and Rajan, as Prime Minister and the Governor of Reserve Bank, had.
On Nirmala Sitharaman's criticism: Singh said he had only now seen the statements by Sitharaman. But he refused to comment on it. However, he said, before anyone 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 the revival of the economy, he said.
On Narendra Modi-govt's aim of becoming $5 trillion economy: He said to reach a goal of $5 trillion economy by 2024 as against $2.7 trillion that India had in 2018, it would require a growth rate of 10-12 percent per annum. What is happening under the NDA regime is that the government is faced with the prospect of a declining rate of growth year after year, said Singh.
He pointed out to the recent statement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that India's growth rate during the current fiscal year will be only 6.1 percent as against 7.3 percent mentioned some months ago.
"With growth rate declining year after year, I don't think there is any hope of economy reaching the target of $5 trillion economy by 2024," said Singh.