12 May, 2021

Who Gives A Damn For The Indian Economy?

Frequent elections are bad. But some prefer to focus on the glimmers of hope beyond the gloom.

Who Gives A Damn For The Indian Economy?

1998. As a month- old prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee addresses the CII annual session. Industrialists, unsure of the emerging colour of the government, listen with barely- suppressed boredom. Among other things, Vajpayee unveils a 10- point action plan, promises project clearances in 100 days, yet applause is muted.

1999. Oblivious of his caretaker position, prime minister Vajpayee charges up the CII annual conference on "The next millennium" with an agenda for the second phase of reforms. In between, he also whips up emotion in all- too- willing businessmen over petty power games eroding India’s image abroad. As he ends with the promise of addressing the CII ’s session for the third time, in the millennium year, the periodic bursts of applause are replaced by a standing ovation.

IF Vajpayee succeeded in extracting the last bit of sympathy out of the illustrious gathering at the annual jamboree of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), it had less to do with his image as a reformer. For businessmen...

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