"My knowledge about finance and economy will not occupy even a postage stamp. My whole knowledge can be confined to one word, that is trustee," he said, recalling Mahatma Gandhi's concept of trusteeship.
Modi, who invoked the Father of the Nation several times in his hour-long speech at a seminar on new growth paradigm, said that according to the concept of trusteeship propounded by Gandhiji, those in power should act like trustees of public goods and not behave like owners.
Admitting that he lacks the knowledge confined in books, Modi said he can always hire those who are well-versed with economic issues. Modi was commenting on remarks made by Chidambaram, who in an interview to BBC said Modi's knowledge of economics can be written on the back of a postage stamp.
"What he (Modi) knows about economics can be written on the back of a postage stamp...he has said nothing about the fiscal deficit, nothing about the CAD (current account deficit), nothing about monetary policy," Chidambaram had said.
Modi retorted by saying that the country is suffering not only from a fiscal deficit but also "from governance deficit, trust deficit, security deficit, moral deficit and deficit of democratic institutions."
Gujarat had a revenue deficit when he took over as chief minister in 2001, Modi said, adding, "Since then, the state has been posting revenue surplus."