Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today claimed the country's economy slowed down due to "hasty" implementation of the GST soon after demonetisation by the NDA government and said he did not see "any immediate recovery in sight".
Addressing a public meeting organised by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) here, Singh lashed out at the Narendra Modi-led government's policies and described the demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes in November last year as "a great, historic blunder".
He said the BJP government imposed fresh "hardships" on the people by "hastily" introducing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July this year. "What is the net impact of demonetisation and hasty implementation of GST? It led to a slowdown in our economic growth," he said. Singh said the GDP growth rate came down from 7.2 percent in 2015-16 to 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017- 18 and small industries and traders were badly hit.
"I don't see any immediate recovery in sight," the former prime minister, an accomplished economist, said. He said the GST was an idea which had the support of the Congress party "but we would have implemented it after due care and adequate preparation... Our aim was one country one tax structure."
Referring to demonetisation, Singh said Modi had stated that this decision was meant to unearth black money, curb terrorism and to check the flow of fake currency from Pakistan.