He said the Modi government's "nice-sounding slogans" such as 'Start-Up India, Stand-Up India and Skill India" are not backed by effective policies. The former Prime Minister who is also a noted economist said leaders should listen to criticism to take corrective action, instead of just expecting praise.
PM Modi has said that he dreamt of seeing farmers' income getting doubled by 2022 when the country completes 75 years of Independence.
Dr Singh said the average growth of agriculture in the first three years of the Modi government "is only 1.8 per cent per year. This is half the average of agricultural growth of 3.7 per cent, which we have achieved in our 10 years (of UPA)".
Stating that 50 per cent of the country's population is dependent of agriculture, the former Prime Minister said, "Modiji has given the slogan of doubling farm income in five years. Doubling it in five years requires an annual growth rate of farm incomes of 14 per cent."
"I do not know if doubling was meant to include the effects of inflation. If he was building in inflation at say 4 per cent, it still requires a growth rate of 10 per cent in real terms," Dr Singh said.
"We have a number of nice-sounding slogans, such as Start-Up India, Stand Up India... But they are not backed up by effective policies on the ground. In fact, the policies should come first before the slogans invented to describe these policies.... Slogans come first and efforts come much later today. This is not helpful," Dr Singh said.
Alluding to PM Modi's style of functioning, the former Prime Minister said leaders should also listen to criticism.
"I have spent a lot of time on demonetisation because it worries me that in a world where economic policy is becoming increasingly complex, we are not developing a culture where policy options are critically-assessed and criticism offered are heard to take a corrective action," Dr Singh said.
"If leaders only want to be praised, they will hear nothing but praise. This is not a recipe for vikas (development)," Dr Singh said.