Jaipur, Sep 7: Expressing concern on the slowdown in the Indian economy, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday stressed the need for a 'well conceived strategy' to make India a five trillion economy.
Addressing the sixth JKLU Laureate Award and Hari Shankar Singhania Memorial Oration function at Jaipur, Dr Singh pointing out that there is an intrinsic link between economic growth and Democracy, noted that liberalization of 1991 has shown how a democratic set-up has led to general improvement in the living standards.
'However, presently our economy seems to have slowed down. The rate of growth of GDP is declining. The Investment rate is stagnant. Farmers are in distress. The banking system is facing a crisis. Unemployment is going up. We need a well conceived strategy to make India a five trillion economy,' he stated.
"Studies show that there is a two-way linkage between democracy and economic growth, where one acts as a prerequisite to the other. The need of the hour is to continue with economic reforms that will build on the liberalization policies implemented and factor in an evolving and dynamic business environment, ‘he said.
Calling on the government to forbid tax terrorism, respect independent voices, and provide for checks and balances at every level of the government, Dr Singh said, 'private investment depends on credibility of government policies. Credible government policies depend on the depth of the middle class, and the rise of the middle class depends on the private investment. We got a cycle. It can be virtuous or vicious."
"To ride on the virtuous cycle and avoid the vicious cycle, requires a bit of luck, leadership, and a team of people, including industrialists, who are prepared to work together for the common good. In particular, the government, should forbid tax terrorism, respect independent voices, and provide for checks and balances at every level of the government, he said.
Advocating institutional, political and electoral reforms; a strong and proactive judiciary, speedy resolution of huge number of pending legal cases; bolstering of local self-rule; curbing of corruption and black money and promoting the rule of law as among the measures that can ensure a robust and sustainable democracy in India , Dr Singh said.
'To summarize, a liberal democracy is one model of good governance that includes freedom, pursuit of equality, power sharing, deliberation, periodic elections, independent institutions, and the rule of law. In India, we are fortunate to have an ancient culture of tolerance and respect for divergent views, and a population that is accustomed to political opposition and peaceful transfer of power for over seven decades now. Political liberalism is a way of life for us. '
Dr Singh said that the major long-term change would come from education and the rise of the middle class made possible by economic liberalization. 'Since India liberalized its economy in 1991, millions of people have risen above the poverty line. Consumption pattern has done better, and the demand for education has grown,' he said delivering the Shankar Singhania Memorial Oration on the topic “Strengthening the Roots of Democracy in India”. UNI