Mumbai: Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has done exceptional work during his tenure and as the country’s Finance minister and he should therefore be awarded the Bharat Ratna, Senior Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar on Wednesday said.
Speaking to reporters here, the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly said, “Even during the global meltdown in 2008, he ensured that the Indian economy is not hit. He should therefore be awarded the Bharat Ratna, befitting his valuable contribution to the country,” Wadettiwar said.
He added that when Singh took the charge as the country’s Finance minister in 1991, the nation was going through a difficult economic phase. “The first Budget presented by him led to the biggest economic reforms post-Independence. He introduced the first Industries policy. Dr Singh changed the taxation system and brought in a number of policies to lift the country from a difficult time,” he said.
Wadettiwar said it was due to Singh that the country’s economy grew steadily over the years and a new era of economic reforms started and that the mantra of globalization, liberalization and privatization started being followed. “The strong foundation to the country’s economy resulted in a better GDP growth numbers in later years. The economic meltdown of 2008 ate away the economy of the USA, which laid off thousands of youths working there and sent them back to India. The United States had started mass scale job cuts,” he said.
The Leader of Opposition further said while the whole world was battling the economic crisis, Singh, with his in-depth knowledge of finance, far sightedness and zeal to take the country ahead and the ability to strongly implement reforms, ensured the Indian economy was not affected by the global economic meltdown.
“The present government’s policies have brought the nation to the brink of an economic collapse. Industries have been badly affected due to demonetization and wrong implementation of the GST. Vehicles, textile and the housing sectors have slumped. Lakhs of people have lost their jobs. The government is having to plead with industries to not cut jobs and instead of closing down their businesses entirely, close them for 3 days of week. The government is having to borrow money from the RBI to spend it for the economy. The BJP should keep politics aside in this time of crisis and award Bharat Ratna to Dr Manmohan Singh,” Wadettiwar said.