Road in future is more daunting than 1991 crises say Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Road in future is more daunting than 1991 crises say Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Speaking on 30 years of economic liberalization, the former Prime Minister says healthy and dignified life for every Indian must be prioritized first.

The 1991 economic reforms raised millions out of poverty, unleashed the spirit of free enterprises, and catapulted India into a $3 trillion economy. Still, the road ahead is even more daunting than the 1991 crisis, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said on July 23.

To mark the 30th anniversary of economic liberalization and the opening up of the Indian economy on July 24, Dr. Singh released a statement in which he recalled the success but expressed his pain at the destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of lives and livelihoods.

The country needs to recalibrate its priorities for all Indians to live dignified, said Singh.

Road in future is more daunting than 1991 crises say Ex Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 1getty image

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Dr. Singh said.

“It gives us massive joy to look back with pride at the huge economic progress made by our nation in last three decades. But I am deeply saddened at the devastation caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of fellow Indians. The social sector of education and health have fall behind and pace with our economic progress was slow. Too many lives and livelihoods been lost that should not have been,”

He added.

“It is not a time to rejoice but to self-analysis and review. The road ahead is more daunting than during the 1991 disaster. Our priorities as nation need to be recalibrated to foremost ensure a healthy and dignified life for every single Indian,”

As Finance Minister to late former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, Dr. Singh, who had to disclose a slew of reforms in 1991, talked about progress since the opening up of the economy.

He said.

“Over last three decades, successive governments have followed this path to catapult our nation to a $3 trillion economy and into the league of the world’s largest economies. More importantly, nearly 300 million fellow Indians have been lifted out of poverty in this period and hundreds of millions of new jobs have been provided for our youth,” 

The former Prime Minister said that although an economic crisis triggered liberalization, it also built on

“the desire to prosper, the belief in our capabilities, and the confidence to relinquish control of the economy by the government.”

The liberalization process helped make some world-class companies, and India has emerged as a global power in many sectors, he said.

Dr. Singh noted.

“I was fortunate to play a role in this reform process along with several of my colleagues in the Congress party,”

Recalling his Budget speech, Dr. Singh said,

“As Finance Minister in 1991, I ended my Budget speech by quoting Victor Hugo,‘no power on Earth can stop an idea whose time has come’. 30 years later, as a nation, we must remember Robert Frost’s poem, ‘But I promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep’.”

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