Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said a “well-conceived strategy” was needed to make India a five trillion economy.
Singh was speaking at the JK Lakshmipat University, where he was felicitated with the ‘JKLU Laureate Award 2019’ for his contribution in public service, governance, economy, and nation-building.
“Currently, 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 and unemployment is going up. We need a well-conceived strategy to make India a five trillion economy,” he said.
He suggested that the government should forbid tax terrorism, respect independent voices and provide for checks and balances at every level. “The need of the hour is to continue with economic reforms,” he said.
The Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan said the country needs principled, knowledgeable and visionary leaders in times to come to strengthen democracy.
Singh said political parties must be committed for safeguarding the values enshrined in the country’s Constitution.
“For our continued unity, the government has to deliver justice, liberty, equality and an environment that respects contrary opinions,” he said, adding, that supremacy of parliament and its procedures, the rules of the government and precedents have to be respected.
He also said institutions like the SC, ECI, CAG, CBI, Vigilance Commission, Information Commission and other special commissions are expected to function independently within the framework of the Constitution.
“We must always promote the objective to reduce crime and corruption, consolidate the rule of law, enhance credibility, and create an environment conducive for investment as an engine of growth,” he said. A functional democracy has definite advantages over an authoritarian regime.
Citing the example of China in the context of economic development, he said such countries, by persuading citizens to focus primarily on economic growth, created an atmosphere in which sacrificing personal freedom could be justified.
Later, Union minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi admitted that the country’s economy was experiencing a slowdown, but added it was the “darkest night before dawn”. “We are living in the darkest night before dawn and I understand that there is no delay in the sunrise now. GST, demonetisation, a lot of processes are going on. Despite this, there is a slight slowdown in our economy. But it will change soon. You will see,” he claimed.