Manmohan Singh believes that after 30 years of economic reform, the road ahead is more difficult and that priorities must be reset.
He claims that the path ahead is even more difficult than it was during the 1991 economic crisis and that the country must refocus its objectives in order to provide a decent living for all Indians.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the architect of the historic 1991 liberalization, famously remarked in 2016, as India commemorated the 25th anniversary of the opening up of its economy, that the country prefers to act when there is a crisis. He had predicted that once it was done, the status quo will take over.
Singh issued a warning on Friday, the 30th anniversary of economic liberalization. He claims that the path ahead is more difficult than it was during the 1991 economic crisis and that the country must refocus its objectives in order to provide a decent living for all Indians.
He recalled how the Congress had “ushered in important changes of India’s economy and established a new route for our nation’s economic policy” on this day 30 years ago.
He said that successive administrations had followed this route to propel India to a $3 trillion economy and into the league of the world’s greatest economies during the previous three decades. “It is not a moment to rejoice and revel, but to introspect and ponder,” he continued, since “the path ahead is much more difficult than it was during the 1991 crisis.” “As a nation, our priorities must be reset to guarantee that every Indian lives a healthy and dignified life,” he added.
Singh said he was lucky to be able to participate in the reform process with his colleagues in the Congress, but he was pained by the economic catastrophe brought on by the epidemic. “It brings us great pleasure to reflect back with satisfaction on our country’s extraordinary economic growth over the previous three decades. But I’m also heartbroken at the destruction wreaked by the Covid-19 epidemic, which resulted in the deaths of millions of Indians. Health and education are two social areas that have fallen behind and failed to keep up with our economic development. There have been far too many lives and livelihoods lost that should not have been,” he added.
“In 1991, when I was finance minister, I concluded my budget address by paraphrasing Victor Hugo, who said, ‘No authority on Earth can halt an idea whose time has come.’ We must recall Robert Frost’s poetry, ‘But I have vows to keep, and miles to go before I sleep,’ thirty years later, Singh added.