Manmohan Singh
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.IANS File

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh Friday, September 7 accused the Modi government of "slowly but surely" undermining the values that a democratic polity should fiercely protect and called for a meaningful national debate on it as also the failure of ruling dispensation in fulfilling its promises made.

Releasing a book titled "Shades of Truth" by former union minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, he hoped this is the beginning of the national debate that everyone needs.

In a scathing indictment of the Modi dispensation, Singh said key national institutions vital for good governance are experiencing unprecedented new strains, India's neighbourhood is far less secured than it was in 2014 and its ties with neighbours deteriorated in the last four years.

"Modi government has failed to address issues relating to a creative use of science and technology for national transformation," he added.

"Women, Dalits, and minorities are increasingly living in an environment of insecurity," he said, adding that nothing concrete has been done to bring back the promised billions of dollars allegedly held abroad as black money.

"Academic freedom is sought to be curbed, the environment in our universities is being vitiated. All this is a powerful indictment on the Modi government's performance and there has to be a meaningful national debate on issues raised by Kapil Sibal. So, I sincerely hope that this is the beginning of that national debate and we all need that and together with an alternative narrative that the country needs to study and adopt," he said.

Singh said the book is a highly researched subject and a comprehensive analysis on the functioning of the Modi government in the last four years.

"It highlights the failures of the Modi government to fulfilling important promises made to the people ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014," he said.

This government, he said, has not constructively dealt with the agrarian crisis facing the nation and the indication of that is the farmers' protests across the country.

Singh said farmers are still not assured of receiving remunerative prices of their produce and the youth are desperately waiting for the promised 2 crore jobs per year, while the employment rate is declining.

He said people are not impressed by the figures that are being put out by the Modi government to justify the creation of a large number of jobs. While industrial production and exports are stagnant, programmes, like Make in India and Stand Up India, are yet to make a meaningful impact on growth.

Singh highlighted that demonetisation and hasty implementation of the GST have badly hurt enterprises, which are yet to derive significant benefit from the ease of doing business schemes.