Kick-started in 1991, the economic reforms brought about expansion of services sector, helped largely by a liberalized investment and trade regime.
“No force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come” was a quote of French writer and essayist Victor Hugo that Dr Manmohan Singh had used in his speech on 24 July 1991 when he (the then finance minister) presented the Budget. During the speech, he laid out a new trade policy oriented towards promoting exports and removing import controls. Specifically, he proposed limiting tariff rates to no more than 150% while also lowering rates across the board, reducing excise duties, and abolishing export subsidies.
The reforms drew heavy scrutiny not only from Opposition leaders but also from the incumbent Congress peers. Critics also derided devaluation, fearing it would worsen runaway inflation that would hit the poorest citizens the hardest.
30 years from then where are we today? How momentous was 1991 in India’s economic history?
Federal’s Venkataraghavan Srinivasan had a brief chat with Praveen Chakravarthy, Data Scientist, INC.