The Times Of India | 25 March 2017
'Pvt sector success story of reforms'
An important feature of India's experience of 25 years of economic liberalisation has been the success of private sector, said Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, a Times of India columnist, at a panel discussion to mark the launch of his book on this period.
The book, "From Narasimha Rao to Narendra Modi," was launched by former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday.
At a panel discussion following the book launch, Aiyar detailed the transition in the economic and social environment between the period prior to 1991 to last year's demonetisation. According to him, the period prior to 1991was characterised by tight government control on economic activity which led to scarcity . To illustrate the point, Aiyar pointed out that on account of scarcity and rationing, a car could be sold in the second hand market at a rate higher than the original price. "India was supposed to be best off when there was no choice," he said. The period could be described as one of crony socialism, he said.
According to Aiyar, even as private sector turned out to be a success story since 1991, there was government failure in delivery of service in areas such as education and healthcare. In addition, there was erosion in the functioning of institutions.
Bimal Jalan, former governor of Reserve Bank of India, pointed out that first steps in liberalising the economy were taken in 1985. Subsequently , the balance of payments crisis of1990 shaped events of 1991 when economic policy removed many restrictions on economic activity.
Swapan Dasgupta, a BJP parliamentarian in Rajya Sabha, felt economic liberalisation of 1991took place despite the political class. He felt that even today the political class was not entirely convinced by the economic philosophy underpinning economic liberalisation.
Sidharth Birla, past president of FICCI, pointed out that attitude of people had changed since 1991. According to him, in 2017 aspirations on the ground influenced policy , which was unlike what existed in 1991.
While drawing lessons from experiences around the world, Aiyar felt that social harmony had an important role to play. He felt that India managed its conflicts better than its South Asian neighbours.
This news was published by The Times Of India