Narasimha Rao as the father of economic reforms, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said the late former Prime Minster was instrumental in including the second generation reforms in the Congress election manifesto in 1991 as it was a well thought out strategy to steer the country through a distressful economic crisis.
Delivering his lecture at the inaugural P V Narasimha Rao Memorial Lecture series at Jubilee Hall, the President attributed the game changing economic reforms to the far-sighted vision and political sagacity of PVN.
"The idea of economical reforms was not out of blue. It was there in the Congress election manifesto, which was prepared under Narasimha Rao's astute supervision. Then, I used to write the manifesto, and Narsimha Rao used to vet it," said the President.
Pranab said PVN did not do as a regular politician when he chose Manmohan Singh to be his finance minister and the step testified his political sagacity.
"It was not easy for a normal politician to implement economic reforms, and PVN knew it. He was only the second prime minister after Jawharlal Nehru to make a person worked in his capacity as governor of RBI the finance minister. Nehru selected CD Deshmuk, who had worked as the governor of RBI, to be his finance minister in 1950," Pranab said.
He said PVN gave Manmohan Singh full freedom to navigate the crisis and introduce for-reaching economic reforms. Pranab said PVN had himself spearheaded the move for dismantling the license regime as the prime minister while holding additional charge of the industry ministry. He could appreciate the significance of the seminal policy of economic liberalization, Pranabh said, as he witnessed the making of the policy being deputy chairperson of the Planning Commission, and commerce minister in PVN's cabinet.
Pranab lauded PVN for his exemplary achievement in the foreign policy. "The visionary he was, PVN launched the 'look East' policy and gave India's engagement with ASEAN a different meaning. India became a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN in 1992 and Full Dialogue Partner in 1996. And now, we sit with them in the summit, as India is the largest trading partner of ASEAN," said Pranab.
Speaking on the occasion, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy said PVN had missed an opportunity to become the President of India in 1987.
ESL Narasimhan, Governor of AP, K Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu, and PVN's daughter Vani Rao spoke on the occasion.