The debate in Parliament on inflation turned into mudslinging last week on the capabilities of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his economic team. Perhaps it's the right time to remind the Opposition that it was Singh, as finance minister, who had unleashed the forces of growth in 1991 by changing the country's economic policy. It was only after this shift that the economy broke the shackles of the proverbial 3 per cent ‘Hindu rate of growth' to enter the high-growth trajectory, averaging more than 6.5 per cent for the last two decades, and the 9 per cent of the last four years of UPA-1.
The world today recognises India as an economic power and expects it to be an engine of global growth in the future. Ours is now an economy of $1.73 trillion, a figure that is expected to touch $2 trillion by the end of this financial year.
It may be relevant to mention here that Jaswant Singh of the BJP had opposed the first Budget of Manmohan Singh in 1991 and dubbed it as one that "compromised on or failed to preserve the economic sovereignty of the country". Warning that it was the "return of the East India Company", former Prime Minister Chandrasekhar charged Singh of selling the country to multinationals. The exact reverse has happened.
When the BJP-led NDA government was in power between 1998 and 2004, it continued with the economic policies that were introduced by the Congress governments before it. The BJP followed the policy of reforms because this was the best choice for India. I hope the BJP leadership, keeping all this mind, restrains itself from questioning above anyone else Manmohan Singh's credibility as a practical economist.
Surinder Singla is a former MP. The views expressed by the author are personal.