"India needs to grow at 10% for the next 10 years to lift everyone out of poverty. We have all the resources and making use of innovation, we can do it," says Dr Subramanian Swamy, senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and current member of the Rajya Sabha. He was speaking in Mumbai at the publication of his latest book organised by Moneylife Foundation at the BSE.
Dr Swamy, a former union minister for law and commerce, launched his latest book “RESET -- Regaining India’s Economic Legacy” in the presence of several dignitaries, including Chinese Consul General Tang Guocai, Prof R Vaidyanathan, BSE’s managing director Ashish Chauhan, many share brokers and traders, and several activists, among others.
In his new book, Dr Swamy has detailed a blueprint for India, which he hopes can help the country grow at 10% per year, achieve self-reliance and full employment, among other economic benefits. The book also undertakes a nuanced analysis of the manner in which the highly prosperous Indian economy witnessed a long, accelerated decline due to persistent British imperialist aggression.
Dr Swamy talked about the evolution of India’s economy while suggesting ways to revive it. He says, “All other civilisations disappeared but India survived with built in balance in all our systems, society and culture. History shows whenever there was a crisis, India would rise. I feel the crisis is coming in next six months and, for us, the way to go is adopt a comprehensive model for India.”
According to Dr Swamy, who is India’s most independent minded and outspoken politician, the country is heading towards a lower growth than 5%, which he feels can be turned around. “The issue is we have to grow at 10% for 10 years; then only you can solve the problem.”
With the book, the brilliant economist, who often get relegated due to his political activities, has made a return to his core.
Speaking about the book, Dr Swamy says, “We need a new reset for our economy. We did not perform at macro growth level. The savings were inefficiently used. The country needs 10% growth for 10 years if we have to eliminate unemployment.”
Dr Swamy also reiterated his demand for abolishing Income Tax (I-T) instead of lowering tax rates. According to him, taxpayers are often frightened of the tax officials and once you abolish this system, we can start on a clean slate where common people would save more without worrying about tax issues or the taxmen.
“Abolishing I-T had been a very salutary (step); the middle class would have been very happy and they would have saved the money. The problem with corporate sector is that demand is low, so demand can only come when you empower the people, the people means income tax and that should have been abolished. Reducing corporate tax is of no use. Because they can only increase more supply but if there are no buyers, then there is no result in increasing supply,” he added.
Claiming a significant role in the 1991 economic reforms, Dr Swamy said he had drawn up their blueprint for economic reforms, while serving in the short-lived government of prime minister Chandra Shekhar before it collapsed and a general election saw the return of the Congress to power.
“Ninety-five per cent of the credit should go to (PV) Narasimha Rao (who became the PM after the 1991 elections); the execution was by Dr Manmohan Singh (the then finance minister) and Montek Singh Ahluwalia (part of the team under Manmohan Singh) but in terms of conception, it was mine,” Dr Swamy said during a panel discussion following the release of his book.
“It started with Chandra Shekhar and he was very much part of that,” maintained Dr Swamy, who served in the government as the commerce minister. He said he was approached in March 1991 for a copy of his blueprint which he agreed to hand over. He was then asked if he would join the Cabinet.
“I said that I can’t do because it would meaning joining the Congress, a house owned by the Nehru-Gandhi family. I told Narasimha Rao that you too are just a tenant in this 'house',” Dr Swamy said, reiterating that it was Narasimha’s Rao’s 'political leadership’ that saw the reforms through as they broke new ground.
For playing an important role and providing stable support on the upcoming Republic Day, PV Narasimha Rao should get a Bharat Ratna, Dr Swamy demanded.
Mr Modi’s advisers, Dr Swamy says, “tell the prime minister only what he wants to hear,” leading to decisions like demonetisation, but he still has a “rapport with the public.” "The PM should encourage people to tell him facts," Dr Swamy concluded.