The 1991 Trio Is Back!

Zee News, Blogs
July 02, 2012

On Friday the 29th of June 2012, the stock market reversed its downward spiral and rose up by two to three percent. Stocks across sectors were upbeat. Investors suddenly became more confident about India. News headlines changed for the positive. Many suggested that the good times were not too far. Global brokerage house, Morgan Stanley, upgraded the Indian stock market after over a year. What happened overnight that suddenly many people started restoring their faith in India?

The answer lies surprisingly in a political event, the Presidential Election, which was ironically almost a non-event until this time (except on a few occasions). For the past one month, people have been inundated with news about who the next president could be. Even though there is no finality on that front yet, the resignation of Pranab Mukherjee from the post of the Union Finance Minister and the decision of the Prime Minster, Manmohan Singh, to retain the Finance portfolio with himself, did the trick. People did not react overwhelmingly to this news initially. However, when they saw the Prime cum Finance Minister getting serious about this job of his (pun intended!), they stood up and took notice. Manmohan Singh’s decision to get back his 1991’s magical team of Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Rangarajan raised people’s expectations.

1991 was a turning point for India, especially the Indian economy, because it opened up to the world. Before the economy opened up, India was on the verge of bankruptcy. India’s fiscal deficit was close to 8.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), the current account deficit was close to 3.5 percent of the GDP, balance of payments deficit was huge and the foreign reserves were abysmally low. The then Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao appointed Manmohan Singh as his Finance Minister. At that time, Montek Singh Ahluwalia was the Finance Secretary and Rangarajan was the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. The trio ushered in sweeping changes in the Indian economy because of which India progressed leaps and bounds in a few decades. They abolished the License Raj system that inhibited the growth of private business and progress of the country as a whole.

Coming back to 2012. The Indian economy is not looking great again. The fiscal deficit stands at 5.9 percent of the GDP. The current account deficit stands at 4.2 percent of the GDP. India is growing at its slowest pace in nine years. Rupee depreciated by over 20 percent against the US dollar in the past few months, thereby becoming the worst performing currency in the region. Inflation is very high at 7.5 percent. Rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s have downgraded India. Capital flows to the country are dwindling. Not just the economy but the current state of politics and governance is also in shambles.

Just when people had started giving up their hopes for revival, they saw some glimmer of hope in the 1991’s magical trio. Manmohan Singh gave many reassuring speeches as the Prime Minister in the recent past but, those did not carry much weight. However, his recent statements as the Finance Minister carried much more weight especially because there is some promise of them being backed by action. Nevertheless, the stakes are too high to rest easy.

Frequent political bickering, lackadaisical governance, slow decision-making, pause in reforms, uncertainty over key economic legislations, high inflation, slow growth and increasing fiscal and current account deficit are some of the momentous challenges facing the country. Reliance on the recent softening of oil prices, the expected normal monsoon and the oft taken-for-granted resilience of the Indian economy and its people, are too risky bets. Only some decisive and affirmative action can save the Indian economy from the quagmire that it is in.

High achievements often take place in the framework of high expectations. Expectations from the Manmohan-Montek-Rangarajan trio are high. Hope their achievements are equally high.


Views expressed by the author, Shobhika Puri, are surprising. There is no dearth of certain“self-proclaimed analysts and/or intellectuals” in India. Since 1991 and now, almost over two decades have elapsed, and our Indian political and economical condition has deteriorated to its lowest level, no doubt economic condition of our “janpratinithi” has multiplied many fold. Since independence, loot of national wealth and tax-payers hard-earned money is continuing. With the passage of time, its magnitude is mind-blowing. since independence scam after scam - jeep scam (1948), still self-sytled intellectuals or analysts are “hopeful” of Dr Manmohan Singh Mantok Singh Ahluwalia that they will play wonders to bring back indian economy to its height. In fact, they are misleading the nation. The trio - UPA chairperson, dy chief planning commission and the PM – are responsible for the present economic condition and woes of the people. Deeply analyzing the trend of trio so far, one formulates “new schemes” worth several thousands of crores in the name of poor people of India, another one manages approval through cabinet decision and third now gets the power to “utilize” these funds “for poor people”. Today, selfish people have outnumbered the patriots. The government and so-called “economists/analysts” always advocate for privatization, , fiis, fdi, etc. “to uplift the condition of the aam aadmi” absolutely false and committing crime to mislead the innocent people of india. Such economists/analysts prefer to communicate through media and never try to educate the people “face-to-face” to avoid questions and long spell of discussion. FDI, FIIs and privatisation are also scams like, 1948 jeep scandal

1949 - industry minister rao shiv bahadur singh, father of arjun singh, was jailed for three years for taking a bribe of rs 25,000 from gemstone trader sachendubhai baron for renewing his diamond mining lease

1958 – indira gandhi’s husband firoz gandhi exposed the scam. finance minister t t krishnamachari, finance secretary h m patel, lic chairman l s vaidyanathan, are some of the names were linked to this lic scam or scandal.

1959 -ramakrishna dalmia, chairman, bharat insurance company, was arrested for misappropriating around rs 2.2 crore from the company and sent to jail for two years.

1960 - businessman dharma teja managed to get rs 22 crore loan from the government to start a shipping company, and then siphoned the money out of the country. he was arrested in europe and jailed for six years.

1965 - orissa chief minister biju patnaik (chief minister naveen patnaik`s father) was forced to resign after it became known that he had favored his privately owned company, kalinga tubes, in awarding a government contract.

1970 – nagarwala scandal – regarding this scandal information is not clear and everything is hidden or unexplained. it is said that nagarwala impersonated the prime minister on the phone and got state bank of india to give him rs 60 lakh. both nagarwala and the police officer who investigated the case died in mysterious circumstances soon after.

1974 –maruti scandal – name of indira gandhi is linked. it was reported that her son was favored with a license to make passenger cars in the then highly restrictive-environment

1976 – oil scam – the scam is linked to indira gandhi and sanjay gandhi. a $200-million contract was awarded to the hong kong-based kuo oil co to take future deliveries at current prices. the government lost rs13 crore. it was reported that indirectly money went to indira and sanjay.

1980 – thal vaishet project scam - in 1980 petroleum secretary h n bahuguna, n n kapadia, petroleum minister p c sethi and k p unnikrishnan were accused in a scandal where a consultancy contract for the thal vaishet project was awarded to a subsidiary of italian snamprogetti in violation of laid down-norms.

1981 – maharashtra cement scam scandal – maharashtra chief minister a r antulay linked - it was reported that maharashtra chief minister a r antulay gave public consumption cement to private builders , companies favored them. how much profits which company and who made i did not find information. did he got the kicksbacks?

1986 – german submarine scam – person linked was indira gandhi. it was alleged and reported that indira gandhi government got the kickbacks in buying two submarines from german firm hdw

1987 - bofors scam – person linked rajiv gandhi - rajiv gandhi and others were accused of receiving rs 64 crore in payoffs for the 155mm howitzer deal from the swedish-firm-bofors.

1991 – jain hawala case - l k advani, v c shukla, c k jaffer sharief, arif mohammed khan, madan lal khurana, kalpnath rai, n d tiwari and many others were accused in the rs 64-crore jain hawala case.

1991 – harshad mehta scam – using the loopholes of law mehta, sbi, nhb, grindlays, citibank and stanchart were all accused of having played a part in the rs 10,000 crore securities scandal.

fodder scam - bihar chief minister laloo prasad yadav and other state politicians and bureaucrats were alleged to have siphoned off rs 950 crore from funds meant for the state animal husbandry department

1996 - m gopalakrishnan, former chairman and managing director of indian bank, and others were accused of having sanctioned huge loans totaling rs 1,500 crore to companies without obtaining adequate-collateral-security.

1996 – telecom scandal - sukh ram was charged with accepting kickbacks from a number of telecom companies in exchange for special favors. about $1 million in small-denomination rupee notes was found in the homes of sukh ram. runu ghosh, a senior official in the department of telecommunications (dot), was arrested on corruption charges, including having allegedly favored telecom equipment manufacturer advanced radio masts ltd (arm) in purchase contracts.

1996 - owners of several large shoe companies in mumbai were arrested on charges of having floated bogus cobbler co-operatives to get low-interest loans from the maharashtra government,

and there is never-ending lists of scams, like, ketan parekh share scam, satyam scam, aadarsh scam, cwg scam, 2g spectrum scam, s band scam, cooperative banks scam, fake election votes, passport scam, black money scam, escort scam, ration card scam, sez scam, government land scam, army land scam, toll scam, road construction scam. slum scam, government housing society scam, food waste scam, food export scam, illegal construction scam, brt scam, metro scam, palm oil scam, arms purchase, bullet jacket purchase scam, We Indians behave like the 3 monkeys of gandhi. bura mat dekho, bura mat suno, bura mat kaho…….mera bharat mahan

Dhol-ki-Pol, New Delhi

Very interesting. Now, the present investors like me also expect our PM/FM will do the positive reforms to save the country's economy.

Thangavelu, Manamadurai

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