L. Narsi Narasimhan, Ph.D. is a former professor of Management Science and Management Information Systems at the DuPree College of Management at Georgia Tech. In 1993, he became an entrepreneur and advisor to several startup firms. He is a co-founder and CEO of Paalam, Inc. Narsi is widely recognized in the South East as the founder of the Indian Professionals Network.
Manmohanomics Version 2.0

"With the formation of the new Government in India, several lingering questions arise..."


I always had high regards for the newly elected (or selected?) Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. We were both academics, and my graduate studies in Decision Sciences is akin to his field- Economics. However, what prompted me to choose this topic is the simplicity of the man himself. A couple of days back, I was talking to Dr. Bikram Garcha, Professor Emeritus in Decision Sciences at Georgia State University. We all know Dr. Garcha as the immediate past president of SA4U (South Asians for Unity). But, what I learnt recently, by accident, was that he was a student of Professor Manmohan Singh. Decades have passed, but Dr. Garcha finds Dr. Singh to be as down to earth and humble as he remembers him. With Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as the first citizen of India, New Delhi is now lead by two simple men with lofty achievements. 

Now, let us talk Manmohanomics. After all, you do not solve problems of the masses by just being nice. You need to be competent. I will leave out discussions on the political acumen and survival of the new PM to some other time, or someone else.

We all know that, following Desert Storm/Desert Shield under Bush-41, India lost its remittances from Gulf based NRIs, and ran into a severe foreign exchange crunch. With less than 10 days worth of reserves, India had to pledge its gold reserves to keep solvent. The bitter medicine of reforms was thrust on the government of India by the World Bank and IMF and other “donors”. That was when Manmohanomics Version 1.0 was released. Apparently, the Congress party did not want to highlight anything from that era due to the fall from grace of Mr. Narasimha Rao. It was only when the Vajpayee government started claiming credit for liberalization, that the Congress elite started reminding people that it was their party that started the reforms. 

That’s the past. Cut to the present. With the formation of the new Government, several lingering questions arise:
• The UPA alliance needs support from the Left. What impact will it have on liberalization? Who are the winners and losers?
• How will it affect India’s booming IT and ITES (information technology enabled services such as call centers and tech support) sector?
• Will the warming up of relations between USA and India continue? Yes, yes, I know that your answer is a resounding YES. But, to what extent?
• As an NRI/PIO, how will it affect you? You no longer have an Ambassador-at-Large “reporting” to you. What is the fate of dual citizenship and other favors you won over in the recent past?
• Coming back to economics, will India continue to get foreign direct investments, especially for the Golden Quadrilateral initiative to connect the four major metros by highways? The new PM seems to be in favor of this and other infrastructure projects using foreign investors. With regard to capital account convertibility of the Rupee, what measures will he take to lure the foreign capital? India already allows 100% convertibility of Indian Rupee for current accounts including dividend income. 

Before I begin to analyze answers to the questions that the change in government raises, I would like to hear from you , the reader. Moreover, this column is being written while the new UPA government is figuring out its so called CMP (Common Minimum Programme) that is acceptable to the coalition partners. So, let me buy some time by asking you for your comments first!!!

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