PM snubs Jaitley, projects 8 pc growth

Urges opposition leader to be objective, respectful

A combative Manmohan Singh on Friday asserted that the country’s growth rate will bounce back to 7-8 per cent in the next three years while hitting out at Opposition Leader in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley who had criticised the Centre’s economic policies.

Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha on Motion of Thanks to President’s Address, Singh tore into BJP’s claim that the NDA government had performed better and cited figures in various sectors to show that the country had grown much faster during the nine years of the UPA rule.

Comparing the figures of the economic growth and social sector spending by the NDA and the UPA governments, Singh told Jaitley to assess the economic situation in an unbiased manner by using his “good sense” and not merely score political points. “When men are full of envy, they disparage everything, whether it be good or bad,” he said.

While describing Jaitley as a wise and discerning person, Singh still gave a piece of advice. “If the leader of the Opposition (and his) colleagues reflect calmly, they will conclude that the path we have chosen is the right path.”

The PM, who became aggressive in countering the attack of the BJP after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi called him “night watchman,” had on Wednesday snubbed the principal opposition party during his reply to a debate in the Lok Sabha.

Sharing the RS members’ concern over the slowdown of economy during the current fiscal, Singh said: “We hope and it is our confidence that in two to three years, economy will bounce back to a high growth of 7 to 8 per cent.”

Urging Jaitley to be objective and respectful in assessing the UPA’s performance, Singh said the growth rate that was 6.6 per cent in 1998-99 and 7.6 per cent in 1999-00, dipped to 4.3 per cent in 2000-01.

He compared the economic figures from the reign of the NDA and the UPA. Economic growth was recorded at 5.5 per cent in 2001-02 and 4 per cent in 2002-03 and as soon as the UPA came to power, the country's growth rate jacked up to 8.1 per cent in 2003-04, he said.

“In 2004-05, we registered a growth of 7 per cent, 9.5 per cent in 2005-06, 9.6 in 2006-07, 08 9.3 per cent in 2007, 09 6.7 per cent in 2008, 8.6 per cent in 2009-10, 9.3 per cent in 2010-11 and 6.3 per cent in 2010-11. It is only in the current year that growth rate will fall to 5 per cent,” he added.

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