MOHALI: Globalisation is here to stay and those who were sceptical about the success of India’s “new policies” 25 years ago have been proven wrong, says former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
It was a matter of pride that the broad thrust and direction of economic policies had remained unchanged in the last 25 years, added the renowned economist, considered to be the architect of India’s reforms in the early 1990s.
The senior Congress leader was speaking at the 15th edition of the Indian School of Business Leadership Summit 2017 here last evening.
“All of you know that in 1991, we adopted a new approach for the management of the economy involving progressive liberalisation of both the internal and external economy.
“At that time there were many people who were sceptical about the success of new policies. However, we have proved them wrong,” he said.
It was also a period associated with significant growth rate of GDP and a decline in the proportion of people living below the poverty line.
“There are undoubtedly still many challenges, particularly in areas like health, education and environment, and in the pragmatic measures to bridge inequalities of income and wealth. However, the acceptance of the broad approach of liberalisation has come to stay.”
Taking a question from the audience, mostly comprising young business graduates, the former prime minister said, “I think globalisaton has come to stay…”
China, he added, has also become a great champion of globalisation.
Singh said India is a land of immense opportunities but does face internal challenges.
“It has a vast market to build long lasting, innovative and competitive enterprises. While as a democratic nation we do face internal challenges for a variety of reasons, the particular advantage of democracies lies in their ability to handle such situations with maturity.”
“Authoritarian responses cannot solve the real problems of the people or make life worth living,” Singh said, stressing on the promotion of scientific temper, on which India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru laid great emphasis.
He urged the young business graduates to imbibe democratic values in life and in the management of enterprises entrusted to their care.
“You are makers of tomorrow’s India. Your creative abilities will greatly influence the place that India occupies in the global economy,” he said.
Quoting Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, the senior Congress leader said, “India currently is using a development model with cheap labour and so it can attract companies for manufacturing based on labour costs. But if we are not careful we are going to miss the boat completely because manufacturing is going to become largely automated.
“Ramakrishnan, therefore, suggests that if India has to solve its development problems of poverty, ignorance, disease and unemployment, more emphasis has to be there on science and innovation,” Singh said.
The former PM also said that if we wanted to improve the quality of governance, we needed to streamline administrative processes.
“There is a need to improve administrative processes in states like never before,” he added.