Will Manmohanomics work?

Updated on May 31, 2004 06:50 PM IST

Economists feel 'Manmohanomics' -- a term coined after the PM who initiated reforms in 1991 -- may have to deal with entirely different set of economic problems now.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, New Delhi

With Dr Manmohan Singh at the centrestage of Indian politics, there is suddenly a buzz about 'Manmohanomics'. But what exactly is it?

Economists say 'Manmohanomics' is a term coined by the media for the reforms he initiated in 1991. It is related to the new development policies which he initiated, and which helped integrate Indian economy with world economy.

"The conditions this time are different, so Dr Singh is giving due emphasis to rural employment, co-operative credit and public expenditure," says Jayati Ghosh, a leading economist and a faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Dr Suman Berry of National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) supplements her argument saying that it couldn't be otherwise as "reasonably sensible polices were expected this time."

Welcoming the initiatives taken by the new Prime Minister, Institute of Economic Growth's B B Bhattacharya feels that Dr Singh is addressing the key economic issues and his plank is economic development and governance.

Economists believe that he is on 'good wicket' now compared to 1991 when the forex was abysmally low.

"The year 2004 is different when we compare with 1991 as it was a period of fire fighting in the economic field. It was a question of survival then. Forex deficiency coupled with food deficiency and under employment all was on the way. But now its a different ball game. We are on the surplus plain," Bhattacharya says.

On the "human face" of reforms, Dr Berry says one should distinguish human face and poverty. "The human face could be that of an affluent person also. Whatever the reforms be , it should be sustainable for large number of rural people too," he adds.

However, all this does not mean that economists wholly appreciate Singh's initiatives. Dr Berry wonders why there are no concrete measures regarding WTO negotiations on agriculture.

"I expected some robust activity from him on the issue as it is very important," he says. Expressing concern over certain vital issues "left unsaid," he adds that there is no significant mention about dealing with the development of infrastructure.

Economists are also unanimous that it is not the left parties that will create hurdles but it would be the other coalition parties.

"Left had realised the importance of foreign capital and restructuring of public institutions," Bhattacharya says.

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