An underachiever and an overrated economist

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July 9th, 2012 Tarun Chaturvedi

It has been a little over three years (2009) when India had voted clearly in favour of Manmohan Singh as the prime minister of the country. It is quite amazing that in this span of three years the PM has managed to earn so much of disrepute not only nationally but now also internationally. The forthcoming issue of Time magazine (Asia edition) has a cover story declaring the PM an “underachiever”. And this sums up the entire mood of the nation. In 2009 it was expected that the UPA coalition would be far more stable than the previous one and this would enable the PM to lead the nation into a more stable economic environment.

Unfortunately, the last three years have been the worst the country has ever seen. With a highly acclaimed and successful economist (1991 era) as the PM, it is ironical that the Indian economy has been the worst performer in the region. What has Mamohan Singh the economist been doing, is a question a large number of people are trying to answer.

Manmohan Singh has not only failed as an economist but has also as a politician even after more than two decades of active politics. His political naivete is evident from his inept handling of not only the coalition partners but also his own partymen (Pranab, Chidambaram, Kalmadi etc).

With the departure of Pranab, some of the comments made by the PM regarding the state of the economy and the actions taken by the finance ministry are laughable to say the least.  The comments clearly point towards the discomfort which the PMO had with Pranab as the FM. What disturbs the most is the fact that nation is being led by a PM who could not do the right things because his ministers thought otherwise. The PM played the role of a consultant who only advises, does not execute and takes no responsibility for the failure.  Is this the kind of PM the nation wants?

If the PM doesn’t change his role and learn to act decisively, the nation is at a high risk of losing the status of an economic growth engine for the global economy. A number of reforms are stuck for different reasons and the PM appears or be doing nothing to push them through. Time is running out and if he continues to find alibis for his failures on all fronts the nation is sure to be doomed. From being a puppet prime minister (2004) to a decisive leader (2009 elections) to a total failure (2001–2012) the PM has seen it all. “Perform or perish” is the only way forward and the PM should learn it fast.

23 Votes | Average: 4.61 out of 523 Votes | Average: 4.61 out of 523 Votes | Average: 4.61 out of 523 Votes | Average: 4.61 out of 523 Votes | Average: 4.61 out of 5 (23 votes, average: 4.61 out of 5)
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9 Responses to “An underachiever and an overrated economist”

  1. Rafael Says:

    i applaud Mr. Obama’s atpemtt to try and learn the nuances of Indian culture. He has tried to portray the image of a people’s president my mixing with the common man, celebrating the common mans festival and driving the common man’s car. He being a rather jovial and fun loving person did try to share a dance floor with the children. I really doubt if our respected Prime Minister should try and do the same if he were to visit America. Mr. Singh should find himself the company of scholars and intellectuals.

  2. om Says:

    It is not appropriate to tow the line of Time, which has traditionally been a bitter critic of India for long. The achievements of Dr. Manmohan Singh are commendable right from 1991 reforms to this day. Unfortunately, he has had extraordinary adverse circumstances in last few years as world economy is in doldrums, coalition partners cre not reforms savy, opposition is not cooperative in national endeavours and there have been reports of resources leakages. Some professional agitators have been vitiating atmosphere by openly showing disrespect to authority in their political campaigns. India still is a successful growth story if one sees how other countries are vulnerable to rumblings in Europe, USA and lately even China. Of course, it is the duty of the Union Government and States to work in unison to face these adverse circumstances and ensure stable growth in the country.

  3. Sanjay Says:

    In fact every one blowing his trumpet, no sync. no conductor. The loot story seems to have substance! in the government so may booked looters? how many unbooked/ unknown!.

    Economic front in shambles? & we talk of competition with China!

    Sea of unanswered questions & heap of exclamation!

  4. DILIP Says:

    Underachieving is a soft description. more like an incompetent Gadar.The veneer of emminent economist has finally cracked.
    My making India a junk bond country has condemned millions of poor and destiute Indians to abject poverty and hopelessness.
    This do nothing government has degenerated India economically and socially. Your characterisation is not far off the mark.

  5. Ram Says:

    What Mr.Advani tolld in 2004 ” weakest prime minister since indiapendent india ” but for relaising media - public, it took 9-10 years to realise the actual personality of MS. worst has to yet to come from him-even politically is immature person- Mr.Underachiever PM

  6. DILIP Says:

    Well asserted, he is not only underachieved but is responsible for mis managing the economy and mis governing the country. The veneer of comptent emminent economist has finally cracked, more akin to an errand boy of the Congress madame cheer leader. Under his watch the economy tanked from an average 9% growtg to 5% growth, the credit agencies have down graded India as a Junk bond status, RPI and food Inflation have sky rocketed, the cost of capital is crippling industries and choking off investment and job geneartion, fiscal deficit 5 of GDP is unsustainable, consequence of populist and vote bank policies, current account deficit is one of the highest ion Asia, poverty is on the increase, social mobility and dovelopment has become the victim of political paralysis, weakness and dithering. FDI has been rduced to trickle, thus no investment to create wealth and growth, thus condemning millions of poor and hopleless to abject poverty and destitution.
    It is about time the P.M. woke up from his deep slumber and took a firm grip of the economy which has lost all its energy and vigour, in this do nothing government, if to fulfill India’s true potential, through massive reforms, investment and change.

  7. Income Tax India Says:

    Agreed. Manmohan Singh is undoubtedly the most abused PM the country has ever had. Unfortunately none of the abuses hurled from all quarters of the country seem to have had any effect on him or his political masters. The country continues to suffer and they continue to enjoy in their offices.

  8. Indy Says:

    I think the tag of an under or over achiever is misleading. His status as a economic reformer is somewhat immaterial while he has been the prime minister. What he should be judged on is in his ability to manage the political economy of the reform program-the cover that was given to him by PVN while he was the FM and PVN the PM. Here he has failed simply because the appetite for reform in Congress isn’t that great and nobody knew it better than the PM. All these hand wringing now about reforms is just looking for straw men.
    In fact hpw credible all these reform talk now , just two years away from general election (actually with only one budget intervening because in 2014 it surely will be a vote -on-account) can be seen only if somebody looks at the bdugetary reforms ushered in by the then FM and now PM in the last 2 years of his tenor as FM-zilch-don’t expect anything more now-he will simply be unable to carry it through.Now status of an economist is somewhat extraneous to the discussions..Arthur Burns , the idol of Friedman at Columbia introduced price controls while he was Fed Chief, Alan Blinder did not last long in the Fed as the VIce Chairman..and more close at home, look at current CEA, Kaushik Basu

  9. RAjiv Says:

    Perform or perish, thats too late to imbibe by the PM. Even if he does so do you think that his political masters would alow that, thats being naive. Its not so clear cut, its far more complex and there are diverse forces working at cross -purposes and the likes of Manmohan just cant handle it. everyone of the political class is running for the loot of the nation, where is time for performance–thats a term unheard and alien to these vermins, maybe performance in the loot could be a better usage. this article , if at all it has to reach the right people is too late and too little. We all know the capacity of the PM, thats old news and nothing can be done for the country at least by the current set of jokers and robbers and thugs, remember Kalmadi and gang they are now laughing their way to the bank. Look at Mayawati, she is scott free, these are al election gimmics, nobody is bothered remember that dear author, come to reality or u could just be another Manmohan Singh. The country has become a joke…..


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