As inflation, unemployment and inequality rise on many levels, Dr. The courage shown by Manmohan Singh in 1991 is needed again today. But how dare the government, which is stuck in the ‘Hindutva’ wind, recommend employment for ‘frying’?
Thirty-one years have passed since the unbelievable thing happened. On July 1, 1991, the rupee depreciated and economic changes began! It was truly a dramatic step towards a radical change in the system of the day. He was vehemently opposed. Prime Minister P Chidambaram’s next step in this economic transformation process is serious. V. Narasimha Rao was a bit embarrassed. According to him, the then Finance Minister Dr. Starring Manmohan Singh. Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Dr. C. Rangarajan became ‘unavailable’ but in the next 48 hours the rupee depreciated again and the trumpet of economic reforms rang again. It is a skillfully performed dance with the motto ‘One step back, only after that’.
What happened after that can only be described in the word ‘courage’. Then the government did one thing after another. Announced trade policy reforms. Brought in a new industrial policy. And in the same month (July 24) the new government presented a budget that would take the country in a whole new direction. The world immediately noticed these moves of the government. The whole world has noticed this courage of the government, its clarity and its speed. The country’s economy is booming. The Indian economy is as big as an elephant. The world now knows that the elephant looks beautiful as it dances!
Determination of the open economy
After the Congress-led government ushered in the era of liberalization, the country has benefited immensely in various fields in the last 30 years. In this context, wealth creation, new businesses, new entrepreneurs, a large number of newly created middle classes, the creation of millions of jobs, increased exports and 270 million (27 crore) people out of poverty can be mentioned. However, it is undeniable that a large number of people are still living in extreme poverty. According to the World Hunger Index 2021, India ranks 101st out of 116 countries. According to the National Family Health Survey-5, a large number of women and children are still suffering from malnutrition. According to annual academic reports, our level of education is worse. Unemployment is high in our country. Inflation is steadily rising. There is a huge difference in people’s income, people’s wealth and this is widening the gap. We have a lot of discrimination at the gender level. There is a huge imbalance at the regional level. Fair and equal opportunities are denied to many sections of society.
We can no longer stray from the path of an open, liberal and market-based economy that began 30 years ago. Doing so after such a long journey would be suicidal. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. We need to periodically review domestic and global developments and redefine our economic policies, taking into account the situation at these levels. For this, the courage, clarity and speed shown by the then government in 1991 must be increased.
Domestic and global development
Note the global developments first. Rich countries have become rich and the gap between some countries has widened. For example, India and China. In 2022, China’s gross domestic product (excluding inflation) will be US 16 16.7 trillion, while India’s will be US $ 3 trillion. Digital technology pervades every aspect of human life. Vida (data) becomes the new property. Automation, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence will rule the world and the role of man in this world will be reconstructed. In this new world, FiveG, Internet 3.0, Blockchain, Metawares and more will take place. Mankind will have to face the effects of climate change. You have to work hard to get out of it. Fossil fuels will be depleted and renewable sources of pure energy will have to be forced to grow to sustain life on Earth.
Now consider the domestic developments. Total fertility rate (TFR) dropped to 2.0. This is less than the replacement rate (replacement rate). The proportion of under-15 population in 2015-16 was 28.6 per cent. Decreased to 26.5 percent in 2019-21. When the country has a large young population, its production process benefits. The declining population of the youth is a sign that this benefit is likely to decrease in the coming period. Although the average farmer produces more, his standard of living has not changed. The belief that agriculture is not profitable is getting stronger day by day among the farmers. Their children do not like farming. Urbanization is accelerating and an army of urban unemployed is forming. The expanding speed of digitization; At the same level the gap between rich and poor is widening. The prevalence of the plural in our public life is slowly increasing. The politics of hatred and polarization are likely to affect our economy. No country excludes 20 percent of its population from its political and economic structure.
The exception is self-defeat
With all of this in mind, the time has come to do Hari Om again – the same courage, the same speed of decision and the same courage – to show again. It is not acceptable for a country to develop without creating new jobs. Employment development needs to be a cornerstone, while the rest is done automatically through job creation. From the lofty promises of creating two crore jobs a year to the language of ‘betting’ employment, the Modi government has disappointed working families. Because parents in these families have invested heavily in their children’s education rather than dreaming of a brighter tomorrow and now the same children are not getting employment.
The Modi government may be temporarily free from Hindutva temptations, but the youth of the country will soon realize that the BJP is Hindutva (and a certified and divided society) whether he / she is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or any other religion or atheist. ) None of them can get employment due to ‘Hindutva’.
This debate will inevitably lead to a changed balance in center-state relations. There has never been so much distance in this relationship; The financial condition of the states has never been so miserable. States are left without their own resources. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) has become very confusing. It is better not to talk about the way it is being implemented. Confidence between the center and the states was completely shattered. The GST exit is being debated, as is Brexit (Britain’s exit from the EU economy). By encroaching on the statutory jurisdiction of the states, the Center is using its administrative as well as economic powers to make the states head before them. Not only the policies of the Modi government but also the path they have chosen is leading to federal destruction.
The author is a former Finance Minister of India.