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Trust between government & business stands eroded: Manmohan

Trust between government & business stands eroded: Manmohan

New Delhi, Mar 15 (UNI) Lamenting that the business community in the country has been made to feel the wrath of coercive agencies, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said that the trust between the governemt and the business stands eroded.

Speaking at the Hindu Business Line Changemaker Awards 2019 here, Mr Singh said that a hostile narrative had been built which would sap not only the confidence of India’s own business leaders but also create doubts in the mind of foreign governments and business leaders.

‘’Of late, many negative perceptions have been manufactured about business leaders; the business community, big and small, has been made to feel the wrath of coercive agencies. A hostile narrative has been built; this will sap not only the confidence of our own business leaders it will also create doubts in the mind of foreign governments and business leaders.

Honest businessman and genuine entrepreneur must never be allowed to feel harassed by the petty revenue officials. Unfortunately, Trust between the government and the business stands eroded,’’Dr Singh said.

Noting that the country has remained alive to the need for change and has progressed and prospered whenever change had been recognised and promoted , Dr Singh said,’’societies grow and progress when creativity is encouraged to challenge the status quo.’’

At the same time, he said it was vital to prepare all stakeholders for the coming change; “because changes produce some disruption, some pain, and considerable discomfort’’.

‘’It becomes, then, the task of the statesman to take the citizens into confidence and explain to them the need for change. It is never easy to make citizens accept deprivation, even temporary.

And, it is important for the change-maker to have faith,’’Dr Singh said.

Dr Singh said that no innovation, especially in the public policy realm, could succeed without a reasonable consensus about it.

‘’We have opted for a democratic path for ourselves. There is no room for authoritarian impositions from above.

Perhaps I may be allowed to add that it is the responsibility of the political leadership to temper the harshness of change, especially for the more vulnerable sections of our society. And, a change becomes acceptable as a social policy when it is seen as fair and equitable. Our social compact must be seen as just and even-handed,’’Dr Singh said.

Referring in this regard to the economic reforms initiated by him as Finance Minister in 1991, he said,’’ with all humility at my command, I wish to suggest that we could change a few things in 1991 because some of us had faith in India, and Indian people. Perhaps it was a faith in our old fashioned nationalism. Without that faith in the ability of the Indian people to absorb and appreciate change, the 1991 story would not have happened. The Economic Reforms of 1991 began the process of change, a process that had been carried on by successive governments.’’

In 1991, Mr Singh as the finance minister played a pivotal role in transforming Indian economy by opening doors for private sectors, foreign investors and liberalising the license raj.

Describing India as “a young nation but an old society”, Dr Singh said,’’since ancient days we experienced a collective strength and confidence when we remained alive to the need for change; we progressed and prospered whenever we could recognise and promote change, and we moved forward when the society and the administration facilitated the work of the potential change-makers.

And, when in our long march we faltered, it was because our social order had become stagnant, and we became too comfortable with status quo and, consequently, discouraged change, innovation, invention and discovery.’’


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