New Delhi: A day after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused the NDA government of ‘putting the blame on its rivals’, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hit back at him saying,”Recalling when and what went wrong during a certain period is absolutely necessary”.

“I respect Dr Manmohan Singh for telling me not to do the blame game. But recalling when and what went wrong during a certain period is absolutely necessary to put it in context, now that I’m being charged that there’s no narrative at all about the economy,” Sitharaman, who is in Washington to attend the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund or IMF and the World Bank said.

Notably, Singh had yesterday attacked the Finance Minister for holding him and former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan responsible for the current bad loan crisis in the banking sector, saying the ‘government is obsessed with trying to fix blame on its opponent’, thus it is unable to find a solution”.

Singh’s statement came after Sitharaman, at an event at the Columbia University in New York accused the former Prime Minister of leaving behind ‘a nasty stink of corruption’ in the public banking sector, which suffered its ‘worst phase’ under him and Raghuram Rajan.

“Indian public sector banks did not have a worst phase than when (there was) the combination of Dr Manmohan Singh and Dr Raghuram Rajan, as the Prime Minister and the Governor of the Reserve Bank”, Sitharaman had said.

Trade Talks Between India, US to Conclude Soon

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister also hoped that trade negotiations between India and the US will conclude sooner than expected. Speaking on Indo-US trade deal, Sitharaman said,”I hope to have an agreement sooner. I know the intensity with which negotiations are going on. Few issues on which there could be differences are being sorted out.”

India Still Among Fastest Growing Economies

Sitharaman also asserted that India remains among the fastest growing economies of the world and efforts are being made to make it grow faster. “The IMF (in its latest projections) reduces the growth (rate) for all the global economies. It reduces the growth for India too. But even with that, India is still growing as the fastest growing economy,” she claimed.

As against India’s real growth rate of 6.8 per cent in 2018, the IMF in its latest World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday, projected the country’s growth rate at 6.1 per cent for 2019 and noted that the Indian economy is expected to pick up at 7 per cent in 2020. With all that being said, “the point cannot be missed that India is still “growing the fastest” in the given global scenario, Sitharaman observed.

“I wish it can be more. I wish it can grow faster. I’ll make every effort to make it grow faster. But the fact remains that it is still growing faster. It’s one of the fastest growing economies too. But that’s not going to make me complacent,” she added.