New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Charging the Narendra Modi-led government with messing up the Indian economy, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said that it has also mismanaged the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and its talk of fighting two-and-a-half wars was yet another “hollow promise”.
He also accused Prime Minister Modi of resorting to another ‘jumla’ by promising to double farmers’ income and generating two crore jobs.
Addressing the Congress plenary session here, Manmohan Singh said: “The BJP government has messed up the economy. When Modiji was campaigning (in 2014), he made lots of tall promises. Those promises have not been fulfilled.
“The BJP government talks in terms of fighting two and a half wars, but when it comes to providing adequate defence expenditure support, the task appears to be yet another hollow promise.
“One finds today that the defence expenditure of our country is no more than 1.6 per cent of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product), far too inadequate to meet the challenges that our security apparatus faces and needs.”
About the foreign policy, he said: “First and foremost, is the problems with regard to our neighbours… India is destined to remain a neighbour for many countries and it is our task to find pathways and to create an environment of support, friendship and moving ahead together.”
He said that the Congress worked in that direction, “whether it is Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka or other countries including China”.
“We have problems but these problems are to be sorted out peacefully and not in an atmosphere of hostility and shouting at each other,” he said.
Condemning the cross-border terrorism support provided by Pakistan, Manmohan Singh also said that India must warn it against this path and to instead sort out issues peacefully.
“With regard to Pakistan, we must recognise that it is our neighbour. We are worried about the support that country provides to the cross-border terrorism. That certainly is not acceptable to us.
“We must, therefore, warn Pakistan that this is a path, which is mutually destructive of peace and prosperity in the subcontinent. And the two countries must sort out all problems sitting together peacefully and give up this path of support of terrorist elements emanating from across our border,” he said.
Slamming the government’s record on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, he said: “We also must recognise that the Modi government has mismanaged the J&K problem as never before.
“They have installed a government, where the two wings of the government are working against each other. The atmosphere in the state is deteriorating day in and day out.”
Citing the reasons for the problems in the state, Manmohan Singh said that “it is obvious from the fact that our borders are not secure, whether it is the cross-border terrorism or internal terrorism, internal insurgency.
“Issues which are the source of great worry to all our citizens and the Modi government has not found ways and means of tackling with this problem, which probably feel that these issues can probably be sorted out by themselves. That’s not going to happen.”
Slamming demonetization and the way the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented, he also said the BJP had promised to create two crore jobs every year but “we have not seen even two lakh jobs”.
“Instead, the ill-thought and ill-considered move with regard to demonetization and hastily put forward legislation of GST has destroyed many jobs.
“Modiji himself said we will double farmers income in six years. Now if you have to double farmers incomes in six years, you need a growth rate of 12 per cent at the minimum. And that is unthinkable. Therefore it is one of those statements which is a jumla-type statements, which is not likely to be achieved and Modiji himself recognises that these are tall promises.
“Two crore jobs per annum is one of those promises, which again is a pipe dream mooted by the Modi government,” he added.
The three-day plenary ended on Sunday with address by Congress President Rahul Gandhi.