‘Superman’mohan Singh was spotted today after a lengthy time interval (after almost 3 years) for a press conference. He effectively announced his retirement after 6 months. It turned out to be an occasion for him to once again read out from what must have been handed out to him by the Congress campaign managers and speak like a spokesman of his party rather than a statesman like critical assessment of his tenure & the economic health (messed up by his government with rampant inflation since past 4 years and slowing growth) which is so vital for a populous country like India. His speech touched upon following points;
– He talked about the so called ‘New deal for rural India’ when he assumed PM ship in 2004 which included hike in MSP’s, particularly since 2009, the acceleration in farm wages aided by his government’s flagship MNREGA scheme, agricultural credit, increased investments in horticulture.
– India becoming one of the world’s largest producers of food-grains, sugar, fruits and vegetables, milk and poultry.
– 14 Cr people pulled out of poverty.
– His government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
– Lack of creation of jobs in manufacturing sector
– Rampant inflation in India (note the irony as the achievement in terms of food output gets totally negated by high food inflation)
– Corruption viz. 2G spectrum allocations, coal block allocations and cases related to land. He talked about how he wanted auctions and stuff. Well, the buck stops with the PM, doesnt it?
– The usual Modi bashing tune of his party. He referred to him as a presider of massacre. If anything, its sad as the courts only last week had effectively given Modi a clean chit. Also, the recent state elections disaster seems to have been taken by his party as one off with it not being repeated again.
– He defended himself as not being a weak prime minister. Well, dual power centers during his tenure (Sonia Gandhi and offlate Rahul Gandhi could veto and ridicule any of his decisions) diluted the PM office over past 10 years. This is arguably the most damaging legacy of his party. PM should ideally be the leader of his own party and shouldnt be reporting to anyone else.
He missed out on the foreign policy and national security (Mumbai, November 2008, numerous blasts etc and the subsequent inaction is unpardonable) failures of his government whereby India commited repeated blunders especially the ridiculous Pak appeasment and the vote against Sri Lanka.
‘Supermanmohan’ tried to put on a brave face with the issue of economic growth and blames the world for our woes and takes credit for the high growth. Well, one cant have a cake and eat it too. Either you entirely put the onus of growth on global factors, i.e. India grew because of global factors and failed because of global factors or on yourself , i.e It grew because of domestic factors and failed to grow because of domestic policies. With export contribution to India GDP being less than 1/5th. The basic economic principle is that GDP growth is a lagged indicator. It means that the GDP growth number reflects basically the work done in prior periods. UPA 1 achieved high growth was the result of previous regimes work and the UPA 2 growth disaster was the work of spillover of UPA 1. The talk of “average” GDP growth is sickening. As the UPA 1 was already rewarded by the people for the economic growth.
Regarding inflation, which was the greatest failing of his government, no answers were forthcoming.
The entire assessment of his work seems amateurish coming from a person who is supposedly an eminent economist. The ostrich like behavior is not expected as he talked about how history would judge him kindly and how he would come out unscathed. Well, only time will tell.