Lok Satta Junction

For better governance in India.

PV: Father of Indian Economic Reforms

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P. V. Narasimha Rao is arguably the first Prime Minister, since Jawaharlal Nehru, to have a lasting impact on the course of Independent India. It is during PV’s term that India took a break from the Nehruvian socialist policies and the “license raj” economy that stunted the growth of the country till 1990. While Nehru’s economic policies could be deemed essential in the initial stages of the indpendent India to build the essential infrastructure and bring the masses upto speed, they have definitely overstayed far too long with over-bearing and license-obsessed state.  After the economic liberalization initiated during PV’s tenure, India has made much progress in the last two decades becoming the second fastest growing major economy in the world, next only to China. The telecom and communications revolution, the IT revolution, the proliferation of TV channels and the accompanying immense growth in employment opportunities are all a result of these economic reforms. Since the early 1990s, India has cut its poverty rate in half. About 300 million Indians — equivalent to the population of the entire United States — escaped the hunger and deprivation of extreme poverty thanks to pro-market reforms that increased economic activity.

On his birth anniversary today, it’s only appropriate to remember some of the great things he had done:

  • Economic reforms. Opening up the Indian economy and unleashing the country’s economic potential.
  • Introduction of land reforms as AP’s Chief Minister, which led to him losing the post.
  • Bringing peace in Punjab by suppressing the terrorism. His successful crisis management as home minister after Operation Bluestar in June 1984, during which the army raided the Golden Temple at Amritsar to neutralize a group of terrorists, who had taken possession of it.
  • His refusal to concede the demands of the Kashmiri terrorists, who kidnapped Doraiswamy, an Indian Oil executive, and of the Sikh terrorists, who kidnapped Liviu Radu, a Romanian diplomat posted in New Delhi in October 1991, in order to secure the release from detention of some terrorists. Both the Kashmiri and Sikh terrorists were ultimately forced to release the hostages without their demands being conceded.
  • His orders to the intelligence community in 1992 to start a systematic drive to draw the international community’s attention to the Pakistan State-sponsorship of terrorism against India and not to be discouraged by the US efforts to undermine the exercise.
  • His handling, as prime minister, of the occupation of the Hazratbal holy shrine in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in October 1993, and bringing it to an end without any damage to the shrine and of the kidnapping of some foreign tourists by Al Faran in J&K in 1995. He resisted pressure from various quarters to concede the demands of the terrorists in order to secure the hostages’ release.
  • His launching of the ‘Look East’ foreign policy.
  • In addition to his contributions in the political landscape, his contributions in the literary field are also quite significant, a speaker of 17 languages and a recipient of the Sahitya Academy award. It is a shame that his own party has sidelined him in his later years and even after his death. It is indeed sad to see the party, that has sparked the notions of independence and democracy in the hearts of millions, being reduced to a dynasty. It is quite clear from the little importance it gives to its few non-family post-independence leaders.

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    Written by jujung

    June 28, 2009 at 7:35 PM

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