Former Union Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh is coming out with a new book claiming to reveal the inside story on how policies of economic reforms and liberalisation came about in 1991, which can be called as “India’s Greece moment”.
A number of hitherto unpublished notes of key architects of reforms, including the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, Manmohan Singh and Pranab Mukherjee, are part of the book — “To the Brink and Back: India’s 1991 Reforms Story”, says Ramesh, who himself was part of the dispensation.
Apart from minutes of key government and Congress party meetings, the book to be released in September this year also gives a day-by-day account of the design and implementation of the radical economic policy changes that shaped the new Indian economy.
“The country faced an unprecedented financial crisis against the backdrop of political uncertainty and crumbling investor confidence. On 21 June, 1991, Rao became Prime Minister and appointed Manmohan Singh as finance minister.
“In less than thirty-five days, the Rao-Singh duo ushered in momentous changes in economic policy that transformed the country,” Ramesh told PTI while speaking about his new book.
He said the book carries day-by-day accounts of the early days of survival, the compulsions and convictions that propelled a paradigm shift in India’s economic policy, and the ups and downs, twists and turns in the saga of fiscal reform.
Ramesh said, besides his astute insights, the book holds key documents and notes, placed for the first time in the public domain, personal papers of Rao, private conversations with Manmohan Singh, Parliament proceedings, and the minutes of seminal Congress meetings.
Coming as it does on the eve of the silver jubilee of India’s economic liberalisation, “To the Brink and Back” will be of appeal to not only those interested in political history but also readers who wish to know how countries can be led from the brink to a radically new economic future.
This is the third book written by Ramesh in the past one year. His first book “Green Signals” was on his 25-month eventful tenure as the Minister of Environment and Forests, and the second “Legislating for Justice” was on the making of the 2013 land acquisition law.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 was enacted during Ramesh’s tenure as the Rural Development Minister in the UPA II government.