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  #1  
Old June 25th, 2011, 09:50 PM
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Highly under rated leader - PV Narasimha Rao

Unsung hero of the India story

Twenty years ago, Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister and initiated economic reforms that transformed India. The Congress party doesn’t want to remember him: it is based entirely on loyalty to the Gandhi family, and Rao was not a family member. But the nation should remember Rao as the man who changed India, and the world too.

For three decades after Independence, India followed inward looking socialist policies aiming at public sector dominance. The licence-permit raj mandated government clearance to produce, import or innovate. If you were productive enough to create something new or produce more from existing machinery, you faced imprisonment for the dreadful crime of exceeding licensed capacity.

When Rao assumed office, the once-admired Soviet model was collapsing. Meanwhile, Deng had transformed China through market-oriented reforms. Rao opted for market reforms too. He was no free market ideologue like Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher: he talked of the middle path. His model was Willy Brandt of Germany.

His master stroke was to appoint Manmohan Singh as finance minister. Rao wanted a non-political reformer at the centre of decision-making, who could be backed or dumped as required. He presented Singh as the spearhead of reform while he himself advocated a middle path. Yet, ultimately, it was his vision that Singh executed.

In his first month in office, the rupee was devalued. There followed the virtual abolition of industrial licensing and MRTP clearance. At one stroke, the biggest hurdles to industrial expansion disappeared. Who was the industry minister who initiated these revolutionary reforms? Narasimha Rao himself! He held the industry portfolio too.

Yet he did not want draw attention to himself. So he ingeniously made the delicensing announcement on the morning of the day Manmohan Singh was presenting his first Budget. The media clubbed the Budget and delicensing stories together as one composite reform story. In the public mind, Manmohan Singh was seen as the liberalizer, while Rao stayed in the background.

The IMF and World Bank believed that when a country went bust, that was the best time for painful reforms like labour reforms. However, Rao took the very opposite line. He focused on reforms that would produce the least mass losers (such as industrial delicensing) and yet produced 7.5% growth in the mid-1990s. These gave reforms a good name, and ensured their continuance even when Opposition parties later came to power.

In the 2000s, the cumulative effect of gradual reform finally made India an 8.5% miracle growth economy. Rao got no glory for this. He had lost the 1996 election amidst charges of buying the support of JMM legislators. This led to his exit as Congress chief. Although he was eventually exonerated by the courts, he died a political nobody.

How unjust! He deserves a high place in economic history for challenging the Bank-IMF approach on painful austerity, and focusing instead on a few key changes that produced fast growth with minimum pain. The World Bank itself later changed its policy and started targeting “binding constraints” (like industrial licensing)

Manmohan Singh said repeatedly that he could have achieved nothing without Rao’s backing. Today, 20 years after the start of India’s economic miracle, let us toast India’s most underrated Prime Minister — Narasimha Rao.

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Old June 26th, 2011, 07:57 AM
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Re: Highly under rated leader - PV Narasimha Rao

I agree ..he achieved quite a lot in a troubled period of Indian history post-independence ..a wrong step economically would have put us in the category of failed states ..Although he had got it done through dubious means on a few occassions loike JMM bribery case

He desrves much more credit which I am sure one day he will once Congress stops dependence on dynasty cult
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Old June 26th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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Re: Highly under rated leader - PV Narasimha Rao

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soorma Bhopali View Post
I agree ..he achieved quite a lot in a troubled period of Indian history post-independence ..a wrong step economically would have put us in the category of failed states ..Although he had got it done through dubious means on a few occassions loike JMM bribery case

He desrves much more credit which I am sure one day he will once Congress stops dependence on dynasty cult
Congressies will sing about him from the next day they stop li(kng the gandy family feet...
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Old June 26th, 2011, 08:53 PM
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Re: Highly under rated leader - PV Narasimha Rao

The article mentions his achievements on economic reforms, his one more very important achievement was controlling Punjab militancy. PVNR steered India through a difficult period successfully, India was pushed to the wall literally with hardly any cash and many say it is because IMF forced India into reforms but we must give credit to PVNR for his astute leadership in appointing MM Singh and then his role as Industry Minister, a portfolio he held along with being PM.
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Old December 24th, 2014, 06:48 AM
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Re: Highly under rated leader - PV Narasimha Rao

At least somebody remembered him. One thing people frequently forget is that it during his tenure that terrorism/militancy ended in Punjab. Else, not a day went in late 80s and early 90s without an incident in Punjab.
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Subramanian Swamy demands Bharat Ratna for P V Narasimha Rao

By: PTI | New Delhi | December 23, 2014 6:58 pm


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Summary Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy today demanded country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna…



Subramanian Swamy said the former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao should be conferred with Bharat Ratna for bringing in economic reforms. (Reuters)

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy today demanded country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna for former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
Speaking at a function to mark the 10th death anniversary of Rao, he said the former prime minister should be conferred with the award for bringing in economic reforms which transformed India into an economic power.
“Rao’s unique contribution was ushering in economic reforms and dismantling Soviet economic planning. He should be given Bharat Ratna,” said Swamy, a former Commerce Minister.
In the Rao government, Swamy was Chairman of the Commission on Labour Standards and International Trade which was a Cabinet-rank post.
Rao was the first Prime Minister outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to complete a five-year term in office (1991 to 1996).
He died on December 23, 2004 at the age of 83.
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Old December 24th, 2014, 08:19 AM
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Re: Highly under rated leader - PV Narasimha Rao

Subbu Swamy is being a smartass.. wants to show to Congress that they don't remember any non-Gandhi PMs.

But really, PVNR was an exceptional Congi PM who took control of Congress and even opposed Sonia's involvement in active politics.. is why he's ignored by the present lot. He was quite pro-Hindu and non-partisan.

can't believe I'm quoting Guha of all.. but anyway.

Last edited by sarv_shaktimaan; December 24th, 2014 at 08:25 AM.
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