Road ahead is more daunting than 1991 crisis: Manmohan Singh

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 23, 2021 11:39:32 pm

It is time to introspect and ponder and not rejoice and exult, says Singh. (Express Photo)

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday stated that the road ahead is even more daunting than during the 1991 economic crisis and the nation would need to recalibrate its priorities to ensure a dignified life for all Indians.

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of economic liberalisation, Singh said he was deeply saddened at the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of millions of fellow Indians and livelihoods.

“It is not a time to rejoice and exult but to introspect and ponder. The road ahead is even more daunting than during the 1991 crisis,” Singh said in the statement. “Our priorities as a nation need to be recalibrated to foremost ensure a healthy and dignified life for every single Indian.”

He remarked that India has grown to be a USD 3 trillion economy and lifted nearly 300 million Indians out of poverty in the last three decades. He talked about the economic liberalisation policies of 1991 and said that those reforms “paved a new path for our nation’s economic policy”.

Singh worked with then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao to bring the new economic policy in 1991. The main objectives of the policy were globalisation, building foreign reserves, higher economic growth, economic stabilisation, and building the gap between public and private sectors.

Talking about the reforms, he added that they “unleashed the spirit of free enterprise”.

“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,” Singh said.

Speaking about his role in the reform policy, Singh said he was “fortunate to play a role” in the process. “But I am also 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.”

“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,” he added.

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