NEW DELHI: Pointing to domestic challenges like agrarian crisis, declining employment opportunities and prevalence of divisive forces, former prime minister Manmohan Singh here on Sunday painted a grim picture of the Indian economy and said the jobless growth was fast turning into the "jobloss growth".
Addressing a convocation at the Delhi School of Management, Singh blamed the "slipshod" implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) for damaging the vibrant small and unorganised sector.
"The domestic challenges of our economy are daunting in their complexity and devastating in their impact on society. The grave agrarian crisis, the declining employment opportunities, the pervasive environmental degradation and above all the divisive forces at work are obvious," he said.
The renowned economist said farmers` suicide and frequent agitations reflected the "structural imbalances in our economy" and called for a serious in-depth analysis and political will to address them.
"Knee-jerk reactions and off the cuff announcements of grandiose schemes and unproductive projects have failed to lift the economy to its potential," he said.
Without naming the Narendra Modi government, he said the country`s jobless growth was fast slipping into `job-loss growth` and together with rural indebtedness and urban chaos was making youth restless.
"The attempts to create additional jobs in the industrial sector have failed as industrial growth is not picking up fast enough.
"The small and unorganised sectors, which were vibrant and contributing to the generation of wealth and employment opportunities, have suffered in the wake of disastrous demonetisation and slipshod introduction and implementation of the GST," said Singh, a vehement critic of the cash cull launched by Prime Minister Modi on November 8, 2016.
The former Prime Minister advocated well thought out policies and implementation strategies to stimulate industrial and commercial sectors.
Observing that macroeconomic stability and fiscal consolidation were the pre-requisites for any semblance of inclusive growth, he stressed the need to incentivise and involve corporates and other business enterprises and institutions in discharging their social responsibility of building India.
"Needless to stress, it is a testing time for our democratic spirit, our patience and tolerance, our capacity of managing contradictions, our resolve of ensuring inclusive growth -- a strong, equitable and sustainable growth," Singh said.