Road ahead more daunting than 1991 crisis, time to recalibrate priorities: Manmohan Singh on 30th year of liberalisation

Says the reforms process unleashed the spirit of free enterprise which has helped produce some world-class companies and help India emerge as global power in many sectors

Road ahead more daunting than 1991 crisis, time to recalibrate priorities: Manmohan Singh on 30th year of liberalisation

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. PTI

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday that the road ahead was even more daunting than the 1991 economic crisis and the nation would need to recalibrate its priorities to ensure dignified living.

Speaking on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of economic liberalisation, Singh said: “I am deeply saddened at the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the loss of millions of fellow Indians. The social sectors of health and education have lagged behind and not kept pace with our economic progress. Too many lives and livelihoods have been lost that should not have been. It is not a time to rejoice and exult but to introspect and ponder.”

The Congress veteran said the road ahead was even more daunting than during the 1991 crisis.

“The road ahead is even more daunting than during the 1991 crisis. Our priorities as a nation need to be recalibrated to foremost ensure a healthy and dignified life for every single Indian,” he said.

Recalling how as finance minister in 1991 he ended the historic Budget speech by quoting Victor Hugo, “no power on Earth can stop an idea whose time has come”, Singh said, “30 years later, as a nation, we must remember Robert Frost’s poem, “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep”.

Singh said on this day 30 years ago, in 1991, the Congress Party ushered in significant reforms of India’s economy and paved a new path for our nation’s economic policy.

“Over the 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,” he noted.

The former PM said the reforms process unleashed the spirit of free enterprise which has helped produce some world-class companies and help India emerge as a global power in many sectors.

“The economic liberalisation process in 1991 was triggered by an economic crisis that

confronted our nation then, but it was not limited to crisis management. The edifice of India’s economic reforms was built on the desire to prosper, the belief in our capabilities, and the confidence to relinquish control of the economy by the government. I was fortunate to play a role in this reform process along with several of my colleagues in the Congress Party,” Singh said.

He said it gave him immense joy to look back with pride at the tremendous economic progress made by the nation in the last three decades.

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