Bhagwati lauds Modi, warns against RSS
Eminent economist Jagdish Bhagwati on Tuesday said that he looked forward to a 'second revolution' in the economy, adding that the country was on the 'cusp of change'.india Updated: Jan 14, 2015 01:52 IST
Eminent economist Jagdish Bhagwati on Tuesday said that he looked forward to a “second revolution” in the economy, adding that the country was on the “cusp of change”.
Delivering the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture here, he also credited former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — who was present in the audience — with ushering in the “first revolution” as finance minister in 1991 by opening the Indian economy.
He, however, cautioned against the “corrosive nature of things being done by the RSS” in the medium run, though he doubted it would hamper the growth path in the short run. He added that while legislative action was held up due to controversy, ordinances had been promulgated to move on.
Bhagwati said while the first “revolution” was “top-down” — brought about by PV Narasimha Rao’s minority government — PM Narendra Modi enjoyed the advantage of a “huge majority”. Modi was a man “who did things, moving ahead rather than standing still” — something that was “unusual” for India — he added.
While agreeing that he was “disappointed” by the NDA government’s budget, Bhagwati said that budgets weren’t everything.
Bhagwati said during his conversations with Modi when he was the Gujarat CM, he never felt Modi was personally against FDI in multi-brand retail. “You have to negotiate minefields in politics,” he said, adding that the “petty-bourgeois” nature of the BJP caused hiccups.
On the ordinance route being adopted by the Centre, Bhagwati said while progressive lawyers called Barack Obama’s recourse to executive action after Republicans were blocking legislation as “progressive”, they were calling similar actions by the Modi government as “unconstitutional”.