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New Delhi: Expressing confidence that growth will bounce back to 7-8 percent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday said the opposition should be more objective in assessing his government. Taking on the opposition, an acerbic Singh said “men of envy” disparage everything.
“I agree to Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley saying that (the) country needs growth of 7-8 percent to get rid of poverty. I would like to remind this house that this is precisely the intention of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government,” Manmohan Singh said in the Rajya Sabha.
Replying to the motion of thanks on the president’s address, the prime minister attacked the opposition for its frequent criticism of the government.
“When men are full of envy they disparage everything, whether it be good or bad,” Singh said.
Referring to Jaitley as a wise and discerning person, Singh said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader should be more objective in assessing the performance of the UPA government.
“If the leader of opposition (and) colleagues reflect calmly, they will conclude that the path we have chosen is the right path,” he said.
He said the UPA record spoke for itself.
The house adopted the motion of thanks to the president’s address. The motion had been adopted by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Singh, who tore into the BJP with his aggressive reply to the debate on the president’s address in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, continued in a similar vein yesterday.
Seeking to demolish Jaitley’s claim that the UPA had squandered the legacy of a high GDP growth rate inherited from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, he presented GDP data from the years of NDA and UPA rule.
Growth rate, he said, had touched 8.1 percent only in the last fiscal year of NDA’s rule. But growth rate during four of nine years of the UPA government had exceeded nine percent and was likely to fall to five percent only in the current fiscal.
“Our expectation is that in two-three years it will again bounce back to growth rate of 7-8 percent,” he said.
Rebutting BJP’s criticism of the slow pace of construction of national highways, he said the problems concerned issues that crop up while spending large sums of money.
“These are problems of growing up,” he said.
Jaitley, who spoke briefly after the debate, said the prime minister had chosen not to reply to accusations of corruption against the UPA government.