On Thursday, former President Pranab Mukherjee has delivered an unexpected sharp critique of the government over the economy, termed its the disbanding of the Planning Commission, claims India is widely-publicised $5 Trillion GDP target would only be possible praised the work of the previous government. 

Mr. Mukherjee is known for his restrained comments, was quoted saying at a lecture event in the national capita, “Finance Minister, while presenting the budget, had said that by 2024 India’s economy will reach $5 trillion. It isn’t coming out of heaven. There’s a solid foundation and the foundation has been built not by Britishers but by Indians after Independence.”

While presenting the 2019-20 Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the country would grow its GDP to $5 Trillion by 2024. PM Modi have often avowed the goal in public addresses. 

“Those who criticise Congress rule for 55 years are ignoring where India was at independence and how far we have come. Yes, others also contributed, but the foundations of modern India were laid by our founders who firmly believed in a planned economy, as opposed to today, when the Planning Commission has been disbanded,” said the former President. 

Soon after he came to power in 2014, Narendra Modi has dissolved the Planning Commission, which is popular for drawing up 5-year plans for years, replaced it with the government think-tank NITI Aayog. 

He continued, “Those who criticise Congress rule of 50-55 years, they forget that from where we began and where we left. If the Indian economy is to be built to $5 trillion, we left a strong foundation of $1.8 trillion from almost zero.”

A lifelong Congress leader ahead of becoming the President in 2012, Pranab Mukherjee was the Finance Minister since 1980s under multiple governments. 

Mr. Mukherjee claims that the foundations for the country to become $5 Trillion in the future were laid by the previous governments including that of former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Manmohan Singh, and Narisimha Rao. 

“India has grown in leaps and bounds because Jawaharlal Nehru and others established IITs, ISRO, IIMs, banking network etc. This was built upon by Dr Manmohan Singh and Narasimha Rao when they liberalised the economy. That unleashed India’s economic potential. It is on that foundation that the Finance Minister can claim today that India will be a 5 trillion dollar economy,” added Mr Mukherjee.

He further cautioned against “violence” in public discourse and “social and political distortions and deviations” in the speech and spoke about protecting minority rights and freedom of expression.

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