Narendra Modi says ‘Economist PM’ ruined economy

New Delhi: In an attack directed at his predecessor, Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that his government manoeuvered the Indian economy out of “unbelievable” decay left by an “economist prime minister and a ‘know-it-all’ finance minister”.

He added that India has now become the fastest growing economy with a strong base which, in turn, would propel further growth.

While addressing Congress’ criticism of jobless growth, PM Modi said –if state after state is creating good number of jobs, how can the Centre be creating joblessness?

He said that the trouble with banking system was spotted in 2014 itself and the banks were steered away from political interference in granting loans.

Regulations like ‘Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code’ were introduced to ensure that defaulters lose their companies, the Prime Minister said.

While speaking to a media outlet, he said that the state of economy was much worse than expected.

“Things were terrible. Even the budget figures were suspicious,” he said.

PM Modi said that he opted for ‘rashtraneeti’ (putting the interests of India first) over ‘rajneeti’ (political considerations) as a result of which he refrained from presenting a report of the economy, when his government came to power.

While playing politics on the state of the economy in 2014 would have been extremely simple and politically advantageous, the government thought reforms were needed and “we preferred to think of ‘India First’.”

“We did not want to push the issues under the carpet, but we were more interested in addressing the issue. We focused on reforming, strengthening and transforming the Indian economy,” he said.

Stating that the details about the “decay in the Indian economy were unbelievable” with a potential to stir a crisis “under an ‘economist’ prime minister and a ‘know-it-all’ finance minister”, he said India was in the Fragile Five economies of the world and “there were several landmines laid in various sectors.”

“We accepted this uncomfortable truth and hit the ground running from the very first day to stabilise things so that the Indian economy can be strengthened for the long haul. We tolerated a number of political allegations, we accepted political damage but ensured no damage to our country,” he said, adding India is the fastest growing large economy now with strong fundamentals to propel further growth.