PM insulted nation: Yashwant Sinha



New Delhi: Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's remark that ''money does not grow on trees'', senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Saturday said the people of the country will give a befitting reply to his comments at an appropriate time.

Sinha said Dr Singh has insulted the people of the country through his comments.

"Dr Manmohan Singh yesterday exposed a truth that money does not grow on trees. A man under whose leadership rampant corruption has taken place has insulted the people of the country by saying that money does not grow on trees. The people of this country will give a befitting reply to his comments at an appropriate time," he said.

Sinha pointed that the Manmohan Singh-led UPA Government had earlier in 2008 taken credit for tacking the economic crisis.

"When there was economic crisis in the country in 2008, the Manmohan Singh Government then said that we did an exceptionally good work that the growth rate was more than 8 percent for two years repeatedly, and that the whole credit goes to India for we tackled the economic crisis strongly. If you tackled the economic crisis strongly at that point of time, then why are you crying now?" asked Sinha.

"The economic crisis is not so deep now. There is economic crisis now in a small country like Greece, but at that time there was economic crisis in a big country like America. They earlier took credit for tackling the economic crisis in America, then why are they facing problems in dealing with the economic crisis in Greece," he added.

Yashwant Sinha, who was the finance minister of the country during the NDA regime, further said that it is for the first time ever that somebody from the ruling UPA Government has accepted that there is economic crisis in India.

"For the first time, anybody in this government has said that the present situation is similar to 1991. We were earlier saying that there is economic crisis in India, but the government was repeatedly ignoring it. Even now, Dr Manmohan Singh is not speaking the truth," said Sinha.

"He should bow down before the people of this country and say that we have ruined the Indian economic in the last eight and a half years of our (UPA) rule," he added.

Asserting that it is the government's responsibility to defend the national interest and protect the long-term future of the people, the Prime Minister earlier on Friday said the recent decisions have been taken to avoid higher fiscal deficit.

"Where would the money for this have come from? Money does not grow on trees. If we had not acted, it would have meant a higher fiscal deficit, that is, an unsustainable increase in government expenditure vis-à-vis government income. If unchecked, this would lead to a further steep rise in prices and a loss of confidence in our economy," said Dr Singh in his address to the nation.

"The prices of essential commodities would rise faster. Both domestic as well as foreign investors would be reluctant to invest in our economy. Interest rates would rise. Our companies would not be able to borrow abroad. Unemployment would increase," he added.

Emphasising that the nation faced a similar problem earlier in 1991, Dr Singh said: "Nobody was willing to lend us even small amounts of money then. We came out of that crisis by taking strong, resolute steps. You can see the positive results of those steps. We are not in that situation today, but we must act before people lose confidence in our economy."

"I know what happened in 1991 and I would be failing in my duty as Prime Minister of this great country if I did not take strong preventive action," he added.

The Prime Minister said the world is not kind to those, who do not tackle their own problems.

"Many European countries are in this position today. They cannot pay their bills and are looking to others for help. They have to cut wages or pensions to satisfy potential lenders," said Dr Singh.

"I am determined to see that India will not be pushed into that situation. But I can succeed only if I can persuade you to understand why we had to act," he added.

The Prime Minister said the United States and Europe are struggling to deal with an economic slowdown and financial crisis

"Even China is slowing down. We too have been affected, though I believe we have been able to limit the effect of the global crisis," said Dr Singh.

"We are at a point where we can reverse the slowdown in our growth. We need a revival in investor confidence domestically and globally. The decisions we have taken recently are necessary for this purpose," he added.

ANI