On This Day 20 Years Ago

Manmohan Singh, then minister of finance, facing a balance-of-payments crisis, told parliament that “the room for manoeuvre, to live on borrowed money or time, does not exist any more.” He attacked the prioritisation of producers over consumers, and swept away tariffs and the mesh of licences used to micromanage firms. Mr Singh’s speech marked India’s entry into global capitalism. He ended by paraphrasing Victor Hugo: “No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come.”

And the time came. The NDA under Bajpai kept the development in every area, be it road, telecom, electricity or ports, as major focus. The world noticed India emerging. It gave long due respectability to India.

The Economist has two special articles in the latest issue:‘The half-finished revolution’ and ‘One more push‘.

In 2004 when the destiny made Manmohan Singh the Prime Minister of India, many including the author celebrated it as a technocrat was at the helm of affairs of running India instead of politicians. But the last seven years of Manmohan Singh has dashed all the hopes.

Manmohan has been able to create only a record of becoming the first Indian from outside the Nehru clan to be on the crease for the maximum number of years, however, without scoring much.

Many call him by different adjectives. Some even call his team as the killers of the India’s dream. I would have loved if Manmohan would have focused on all the roadblocks in the fast track development in infrastructures. Indians certainly deserved to have surplus of power, water and good roads and some world class railway stations. It was doable. No one would have stopped him from creating storage facilities for the grains in absence of which millions of tonnes of life saving for some grains rot.

Unfortunately, Manmohan lost the opportunity. Many and I too will wish to see some miracle to happen in the period before Manmohan relinquishes his office. It may be after the next election or, who knows if the goddess so wishes, after next to next.

And now the economists say India is suffering from policy paralysis and there is hardly any hope, as no drug is available for the India variety of disease. All the Indian political parties lack a leader who can get the country out of the rut. And the people of India still keep on electing criminals and incapables from hundreds of political parties to represent them and don’t zero on two or three national political parties, and in turn, they are getting what they deserve.

However, the country would have celebrated the day as one of historic importance.

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