1991 was India’s ‘Greece moment’. It faced an unprecedented financial crisis against the backdrop of political uncertainty and crumbling investor confidence. On 21 June 1991, P.V. Narasimha Rao became prime minister and appointed Dr Manmohan Singh as finance minister. In less than thirty-five days, the Rao-Singh duo ushered in momentous changes in economic policy – those that transformed the country.
This talk was the story of 1991 based on Jairam Ramesh’s new book To The Brink and Back. The book was the first account of the weeks of fast-paced change, narrated by an insider—a key aide of the prime minister, uniquely positioned both to participate and observe. It carried brisk accounts of the early days of survival; the compulsions and convictions that propelled a paradigm shift in India’s economic policy; and the ups and downs, twists and turns in the saga of fiscal reform.
The story of the momentous weeks of 1991was immensely absorbing, told to us by the highly articulate Jairam Ramesh.
Mr Jairam is the Member of the Parliament, has held key ministerial portfolios during 2006-2014: rural development, drinking water and sanitation, and environment and forests, apart from commerce and power (as minister of state). Besides this, in his capacity as an economist and policy expert, he has been the adviser to the prime minister and the finance minister. He has also served in the Planning Commission of India, Ministry of Industry, and the Advisory Board on Energy.