'Disappointing' PM statement will not bridge 'credibility gap': Yashwant Sinha

New Delhi, Aug. 30 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Friday expressed disappointment over Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's statement on the economy, delivered in the Lok Sabha today, and said that the leader of the country offended the opposition with his behaviour by walking out of the House without hearing the concerns of the Opposition.

"I want to strongly reiterate, again, that the problem that the nation faces today is the problem of trust. That credibility gap is not going to be bridged by this statement," Sinha said.

Sinha said the Opposition wanted a structured Parliamentary debate on the economic situation on the country, but Manmohan Singh blatantly walked off immediately after his speech.

"After giving a disappointing statement on the economy, the Prime Minister left immediately. He did not even have the courtesy to listen to the Opposition leader. The Leader of Opposition probably just wanted to say that there should be a structured Parliamentary discussion on the matter. However, the Prime Minister walked off like we-the people sitting in Parliament-are all incompetent and useless individuals sitting in the Lok Sabha," Sinha said.

"We believe that he has disrespected the Parliament and the Opposition in the way he walked off, which is why Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj got up and said that the behaviour of the Prime Minister is extremely offensive to us-in protest, we will boycott the Parliament," he added.

Terming the statement as 'frustrating', Sinha said that the Prime Minister's speech had no content.

"I want to make clear that there was absolutely no content in the speech of the Prime Minister. He simply used words, which had no meaning. He did not bring forth anything new. The country has been let down with his speech as the people cannot see any beacon of hope, after the Prime Minister's statement," he said.

"The Prime Minister said nothing new in his statement. This Government repeatedly is in the habit of placing blame on others to save itself. Even today, the chain stringing together the Prime Minister's statement throughout was that the problem was linked to the global economic crisis; that we have also fallen victim to the global economic crisis," he added.

Sinha said that there was no way the Opposition will cooperate with Dr. Manmohan Singh, after the way he behaved in Parliament today, and declared that the people of the country must prepare for the worst as the economic climate of the country slumps further.

"We will be patient, what else can one do?...Every time, the Prime Minister says the next quarter or the next half year-this they have been saying for nine and a half years-nothing has improved," Sinha said.

"Brace yourself, prepare yourself, because we are in for very, very difficult times on the economic front," he added.

In his statement in the Lok Sabha earlier today, asserting that the fall of the rupee is a matter of great concern, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday said that the Central Government is taking steps to reduce current account deficit and added that growth will improve in the second half of fiscal year.

"There are concerns and justifiably so on how rupee fall will impact economy, the movement of the rupee recently is a matter of concern to the government," Dr. Singh told the Lok Sabha while making a statement on the current economic situation.

"What triggered the sharp depreciation in Rupee value was due to certain external forces.We need to reduce our appetite for gold, economise the use of petroleum products and take steps to increase our exports," he said.

"The rupee is also getting hit due to high current account deficit. Huge cost of gold and oil imports is also current account deficit. The government is taking steps to reduce current account deficit," he added.

Urging political parties to work towards and join in the Government's efforts to put the economy back on the path of stabile growth, Dr. Singh said: "The easy reforms of the past have been done. For more difficult reforms, we need political consensus."

Facing an attack over the economic situation amid a sliding rupee, Dr. Singh told the Parliament on Thursday that he would make a statement on the state of the economy on Friday.

"It cannot be denied that the country is faced with a difficult economic situation. And there are several causes. I do not deny that there are some domestic factors but there are also international factors arising out of the changes in the US monetary stance," Dr. Singh said.

"There are also problems created by the new tensions that are on the horizon in Syria and they have inevitable consequences for oil prices. So we have to reckon with all those uncertainties. I will be very happy to make a statement tomorrow. I need some time to reflect on what I have to say, but I would be quite happy to make the statement tomorrow," he added.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Thursday demanded a statement by the Prime Minister outlining the steps that the Congress-led UPA II Government is contemplating to tackle the present economic situation. (ANI)

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