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
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
• 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
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!!!
Please send in your comments to
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.