Climate of fear stifling economy: Manmohan Singh
Sagar Kulkarni
Last Updated IST
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh. (PTI file photo)
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh. (PTI file photo)

On a day when GDP figures showed a sharp decline, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hit out at the Modi government for a creating a “climate of fear”, which he claimed was “stifling” economic activity and growth.

“There is a palpable climate of fear in our society today. Many industrialists tell me they live in fear of harassment by government authorities. Bankers are reluctant to make new loans, for fear of retribution,” Singh said addressing a 'National Economy Conclave' organised by Samruddha Bharat Foundation here.

The economist-turned-politician also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set aside “deep-rooted suspicion” of the society and nurse India back to a harmonious, confident and mutually trustworthy society that can revive the animal spirits and help our economy soar.


He also said that a sharp dip in GDP growth from 5% in the first quarter to 4.5% in the second was worrisome and mere changes in economic policies will not help revive the economy

Singh said entrepreneurs were hesitant to put up fresh projects, for fear of failure attributed to ulterior motives, while technology start-ups which form important new engine of economic growth and jobs, seem to live under a shadow of constant surveillance and deep suspicion.

“This toxic combination of deep distrust, pervasive fear and a sense of hopelessness in our society is stifling economic activity and hence economic growth,” the former prime minister said.

The former prime minister accused the Modi government of viewing everything and everyone through a tainted prism of suspicion and distrust through which, every policy of previous governments was considered of bad intent, every loan sanctioned was undeserving, every new industrial project was crony in nature.

Singh said the economy to revive, it was important for the government to enthuse trust and confidence among businessmen, capital providers and workers.

“It is very important for businessmen, capital providers and workers to feel confident and exuberant rather than being fearful and nervous,” he said.

(Published 29 November 2019, 21:15 IST)