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Road ahead more daunting than 1991, time to introspect: Ex-PM Manmohan Singh

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Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 23

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the road ahead was even more daunting than during the 1991 economic crisis and the nation needed to recalibrate its priorities to ensure dignified living for its people.

Manmohan Singh, Ex-PM

‘Too many lives lost’

Social sectors of health, education have lagged behind and not kept pace with economic progress. Too many lives have been lost

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In a statement to mark the 30th anniversary of liberalisation in 1991, Singh said he was 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. It is not a time to rejoice and exult, but to introspect and ponder. Our priorities as a nation need to be recalibrated to foremost ensure a healthy and dignified life for every single Indian,” the former PM said.

Recalling how as finance minister in 1991, he ended his historic budget speech by quoting Victor Hugo, “No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come”, Manmohan Singh today said, “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 said on this day 30 years ago, in 1991, the Congress ushered significant reforms of India’s economy and paved a new path for the nation’s economic policy.

“Over the past three decades, successive governments have followed this path to catapult our nation to a $3 trillion economy and into the league of the world’s largest economies. More importantly, nearly 300 million fellow Indians have been lifted out of poverty in this period and hundreds of millions of new jobs have been provided for our youth,” the ex-PM noted.

He said the reforms process unleashed the spirit of free enterprise which has helped produce some world-class companies and helped India emerge as a global power in many sectors.

“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. I was fortunate to play a role in this reform process along with several of my colleagues in the Congress,” Singh said.

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