Published: 24th July 2021
#ThrowbackToday: Finance Minister Manmohan Singh delivers a budget speech like no other
In today's #TBT, we hark back to the speech of this economist who knew exactly what India needed so that it can limp, sprint and eventually run, shoulder to shoulder, with other countries
We all know our former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a man of few words. That's why the first budget speech he delivered as the Finance Minister on July 24, 1991, is all the more special.
Liberalisation — that's the first fruit of the speech, a speech which keeps on giving. The economic reforms that kicked in heralded brighter days for our country. Proposing foreign investment, changes in export-import policy, tax concession on exporting software, end of 'licensing raj' AKA red-tapisim to set up a business which led to increase in competition, productivity, reduction of costs and so on. With this and many more reforms, our ailing country was on track.
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Singh's concluding remarks of the speech remain the most quoted part of the whole speech. Here it is:
I do not minimise the difficulties that lie ahead on the long and arduous journey on which we have embarked. But as Victor Hugo once said, ‘No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come.’ I suggest to this august House that the emergence of India as a major economic power in the world happens to be one such idea. Let the whole world hear it loud and clear. India is now wide awake. We shall prevail. We shall overcome.