Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister on Saturday, stressed the need for adopting a ‘well-conceived’ strategy for India to be five trillion US dollar economy. Expressing his concern over the sluggish pace of growth in the Indian economy, increasing unemployment, poor investment, distressed farmers and crisis in the banking sector, he said that the democracy is not 'inimical to development' but 'increases' growth. “Presently our country seems to have slowed down somewhat. The rate of GDP is declining. The investment rate is stagnant. Farmers are in distress. The banking system is facing a crisis, and unemployment is going up. We need a well-conceived national strategy to make India a 5 trillion economy," he said. The former Prime Minister of India was addressing the students of JK Laxmipat University.
While addressing, he has vouched for the fact that institutions like the Supreme Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the Election Commission of India (ECI) and other such bodies are expected to work independently.
He stated, "Serving the federal structures like the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of India, the Controller and Auditor General of India, the CBI, Vigilance Commission, the Information Commission and various other commissions constituted by the government from time to time are expected to function independently within the framework of the Constitution."
Taking a dig at the opposition party, he said that Congress has been accusing the Central government of misusing institutions like the Election Commission and the CBI. He stated that the supremacy of Parliament and its procedures and the rules of the government should be respected.
According to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the need of the hour is to continue with the economic reforms that will build on liberalisation policies that have been implemented and factoring in a dynamic business environment. "India since the economic liberalisation in 1991 has shown how a democratic set-up has led to a general improvement in the living standards of our people. Since then, millions of people have risen above the poverty line. There have been several policy measures undertaken by the successive governments that have led to more inclusive growth in India, particularly under MGNREGA and well-designed programmes of universal health care and education."
According to Singh, private investment depends upon the credibility of government policies that depends on the depth of the middle class, and the rise of the middle class depends on the private investment. "To avoid virtual and vicious cycle requires a bit of luck, leadership, and team of people including industrialists who are prepared for the common good. In particular, the government should forbid tax terrorism, respect independent voices, and provide checks and balances at every level of the government," he said. Singh further argued that democracy is harmful to economic development. He gave an example of the authoritarian regimes like China which have made phenomenal economic progress. He said, "It has been argued that although one-party has its drawback when it is led by an enlightened group of people it can also have great advantages. By persuading citizens to focus primarily on economic growth, these countries created an atmosphere of fear in which sacrificing personal freedom could be justified."
Singh stated that all the democracies around the world are going through a stressful time. According to him, Indian democracy is a beacon of hope and inspiration. "It is a stressful time for democracies all over the world. Democratic India is not only the world's largest democracy but also one of the most vibrant democracies in the world. It is perhaps India's greatest achievement. Our shining democracy is a beacon of hope and inspiration to a world that is yearning and striving to become democratic," he said. He stated that the strength of India's democracy lies in the Constitution of India.
(With inputs from ANI)