India 'slid rapidly' from development model to strife-hit state in economic despair: Manmohan Singh
New Delhi/IBNS: Amid massive unrest and economic slowdown in the country, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the current situation is grim and that India has 'slid rapidly from being a model of economic development to a strife-ridden majoritarian state in economic despair.'
Penning down an article published in The Hindu, Singh wrote: "It is with a very heavy heart that I write this...I deeply worry that this potent combination of risks may not only rupture the soul of India but also diminish our global standing as an economic and democratic power in the world."
Singh, who was the Prime Minister of India for two terms between 2004 and 2014, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi "must convince the nation, not merely through words but by deeds, that he is cognisant of the dangers we face and reassure the nation that he can help us tide over this as smoothly as we can."
Referring to the large-scale violation in northeast Delhi last week, the former PM noted: "With no checks, the fire of social tensions is rapidly spreading across the nation and threatens to char the soul of our nation. It can only be extinguished by the same people that lit it."
"India has slid rapidly from being a global showcase of a model of economic development through liberal democratic methods to a strife ridden majoritarian state in economic despair," he described.
Singh, who was also a Finance Minister during the Prime Ministership of P. V. Narasimha Rao and liberalised the economy to combat the financial crisis which India faced during that period, said the impact of social tension exacerbate the economic slowdown.
"Social harmony, the bedrock of economic development, is now under peril. No amount of tweaking of tax rates, showering of corporate incentives or goading will propel Indian or foreign businesses to invest, when the risk of eruption of sudden violence in one's neighbourhood looms large," Singh wrote.
In the wake of the rapid outbreak of Coronavirus in India, which has already infected 31 people, Singh prescribed a three-point plan for the government. "First, it should focus all energies and efforts on containing the COVID-19 threat and prepare adequately. Two, it should withdraw or amend the Citizenship Act, end the toxic social climate and foster national unity. Three, it should put together a detailed and meticulously."
Singh noted that he doesn't wish to exaggerate fears through his article, however, the present scenario, as per him, threatens to derail India's progress.
"The truth is that the current situation is very grim and morose. The India that we know and cherish is slipping away fast. Wilfully stoked communal tensions, gross economic mismanagement and an external health shock are threatening to derail India's progress and standing," his article read.