Saturday, April 04, 2009

Just when I thought I couldn't decide on my vote!

I see this. But I don't believe it! That seals it for me. There is no way anyone in praise of the terrible fiasco that was the attempted socialism of the Indhira Gandhi days can be trusted with my country in today's globalised world when India is finally developing thanks largely to hard fought and won efforts at liberalisation. India is still nursing the sore wounds of the Indira Gandhi regime and here we have her progeny praising that same nationalisation debacle that stalled the liberalised regime of the 1950s and even the relatively liberal regime of the early 1960s and finally dealt death blows to private and foreign investment in India! And to top it all, I don't quite understand why Sonia speaks of Indhira's move to nationalisation as if it was calculated to benefit the nation. Here is what the above article quotes her as saying:
"Every passing day bears out the wisdom of that decision. Public sector financial institutions have given our economy the stability and resilience we are now witnessing in the face of the economic slowdown,” Gandhi told a conference in New Delhi on Friday morning.

But here's the truth(Source: India - The Emerging Giant, Arvind Panagariya p.53):
In his memoir, I. G. Patel (2002, p. 135), who served as the economic secretary in the Finance Ministry at the time the banks were nationalized offers an interesting account of the decision-making process:
It was, I think, later in July 1969 that I was sent for once again. No one else was present. Without any fanfare, she asked me whether banking was under my charge. On my telling her it was, she simply said, “For political reasons, it has been decided to nationalize the banks. You have to prepare within 24 hours the bill, a not for the Cabinet and a speech for me to make to the nation on the radio tomorrow evening. Can you do it and make sure there is no leak?” There was no pretence that this was not a political decision, and the message was clear that no argument from me was required. I assured her that we will keep to the timetable and keep the secret. I summoned courage, however, to make two suggestions: to leave the foreign banks alone, and nationalize only the major ones. The former was intended to avoid a sharp reaction abroad; and the latter because the purpose would be served by taking only the major banks and leaving the scores of small banks alone. She immediately agreed and added that she could trust the details to me.

That political decision was in reference to a power struggle between I Gandhi and the Syndicate(Morarji Desai et al).

p.s: I am not sure how much influence Sonia might exert over Manmohan's decisions or the finance and commerce minsters' portfolios but it is a risk I'm unwilling to take.

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