Nirmala Sitharaman hits back at Manmohan Singh on economic crisis

File photo of Nirmala Sitharaman

Washington: Recalling when and what went wrong during a certain period is absolutely necessary, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said, targeting former Prime minister Manmohan Singh for accusing the NDA government of always trying to put the blame on its rivals.

Conceding that there were some ”weaknesses” in his regime, Manmohan had on Thursday said the Modi government should stop blaming the UPA for every economic crisis, as five years were sufficient time to come up with solutions.

”I respect Dr Manmohan Singh for telling me not to do the blame game. But recalling when and what went wrong during a certain period is absolutely necessary to put it in context, now that I’m being charged that there’s no narrative at all about the economy,” Nirmala told a group of Indian reporters here.

She was responding to a question on allegations by Manmohan that the government was always trying to put the blame on its opponents instead of finding solutions.

The senior Congress leader’s comments at the press conference in Mumbai came after Nirmala at an event at the Columbia University in New York held the Manmohan Singh-Raghuram Rajan combination responsible for subjecting public sector banks (PSBs) to their ”worst phase”.

”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 Manmohan and Rajan, as Prime Minister and the RBI Governor, had. At that time, none of us knew about it,” she had said.

Nirmala told the group of Indian reporters on Thursday that her remarks in New York was an answer to a question. The question was on parts taken out of the speech made by Rajan and it had three components to it, she said.

The quote referred to what the former RBI governor had said about a centralised leadership and the absence of a coherent narrative of the economy, Nirmala claimed.

”I also understand there’s already in India lots of discussion about the Finance Minister being out of the country and how could she talk about issues that are essentially to be spoken within the country. These taken on board, I would still say that was an answer given to a question which read a quotation from the speech of the former Reserve Bank Governor,” she said.