1. Jagdish Bhagwati lauds Narendra Modi as people’s PM who is keen on reforms

Jagdish Bhagwati lauds Narendra Modi as people’s PM who is keen on reforms

Jagdish Bhagwati says Narendra Modi is committed to expeditious reforms and guessed that he will open FDI in multi-brand retail in a year.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: January 14, 2015 9:43 AM
Jagdish Bhagwati, jagdish bhagwati on modi, Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi news, Modi news, reforms, fdi multi brand retail, fdi multi brand, FDI in multi-brand retail

Economist Jagdish Bhagwati delivers Madhavrao Scindia memorial lecture in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

Lauding him “as people’s Prime Minister”, noted economist Jagdish Bhagwati on Tuesday said Narendra Modi is committed to expeditious reforms and guessed that he will open FDI in multi-brand retail in a year.

“Traditional base of BJP is shopkeepers. Now he (Modi) has got a wider constituency, and he may be able to move on. Whatever little discussion I had with him when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, I never found any anti-multibrand retail sentiments expressed by him.

“… this is a matter of my forecasting, I guess in one year, he will consolidate himself and open up FDI in multi-brand retail,” Bhagwati said.

The comments by the eminent economist, who has always been vocal with his support for economic policies of Modi including during his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister, assume significance as the BJP has been opposing foreign investment in multi-brand retail.

“Modi is in a position of going fast on economic reforms and he is moving fast … He is scaling up trade liberalisation and he is scaling up direct foreign investment,” Bhagwati said while delivering Madhavrao Scindia Foundation lecture here.

The Columbia University professor also termed Modi’s predecessor Manmohan Singh as ‘people’s Prime Minister’ and said both of them came from relatively modest backgrounds.

Singh was present during the lecture, which was also attended by a host of other Congress leaders, including former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

Replying to a specific question on multi-brand retail, Bhagwati hoped that the Modi government, which is moving fast on economic reforms, would open the sector to foreign investment within a year.

“He (Modi) is willing to experiment. He is much more flexible…Modi is in a position of going fast on economic reform and he is moving fast. Now things are moving faster.

“He is scaling up trade liberalisation and he is scaling up direct foreign investment. And I think it is something that can be scaled up … He knows that trade works,” he said.

Citing the Gujarat model, Bhagwati said growth is important because it helps in creating more employment and generating revenue for social sector spending.

“The Gujarat model is not just creating prosperity. It is about you accumulate money and spend on social sector…. Growth is important because it helps in creating more employment and generating revenue. And we will…spend money on social sector,” he said.

Asked about his views about the government using the ordinance route to push through key bills, the noted economist said: “President Obama is in exactly the same situation. My brother and former Chief Justice of India P N Bhagwati had a famous judgement saying executive orders are constitutional…but it is not good in the long run.”

  1. V
    Vishwamitra
    Jan 14, 2015 at 12:59 pm
    Prof. Bhagwati is right. India must reform fast. Indian governments are used to controls and subsidies regimes. It gave them power and discretion to distribute tax payers money to bribe various vote banks. Even public is accustomed to the crumbs thrown by politician. Most of them are anti-reform minded. The reforms started in 1991, not because the government and the policy-makers had an awakening that the past policies were wrong. Reforms took place because a near bankrupt government needed money to avoid international default and had no option but to agree to the loan conditions of the World Bank and the IMF. Two and a half years later, when the economy stabilized thanks to the drastic reforms, PM Rao and Dr. Singh suspended reforms, until PM Vajpayee gave these a big push again. Even Mr. Vajpayee was opposed by all political parties and factions from his own party, in particular the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch initially. It took Mr. Vajpayee two years to overcome these anti-reformer anti-nationals. Thanks to the reforms push by the NDA, India enjo historical high growth rates and high employment for the next 5-6 years. It took 3-4 years by anti-reforms regime of PM Singh to crash the economy by tax-and-spend populism. Even today, PM Modi does not have all in his own party sharing the same enthusiasm for reforms. It would take him a year or so for neutralizing them. What is wrong with multi-b retail? It will weed out inefficient players and make various sectors more compeive globally. Who is complaining about opening up of telecom sector today? Ultimately, Indians will be able to get jobs only when Indian companies become world beaters in manufacturing and services. For that more opening up, more compeion and more reforms are needed. One hopes Modi government will not let Indian public down on this.
    Reply
    1. S
      Sagar
      Jan 14, 2015 at 6:21 pm
      khujli is just another paap of the roman mattaji maino as proved by commentts of silla.The only intention of khujli is to give backdoor entry to robber vadarra to loot the aam aadmi of the cappitall like he,, did in hariana and rajjasthan with help of hoodda and gahlott...
      Reply

      Go to Top