1990. India was bankrupt. Bajaj scooter had five year wait, telephone had ten year wait, Delhi Mumbai airfare was Rs. 5000 and you needed to know a Jt Secy to get a seat. Entry level salary of Class A officer was Rs. 3500 pm. A desert cooler was a luxury. Maruti 800 was a car for upper class.
We had to pledge gold to avoid default, and as the men involved later recalled, they were shivering till the plane carrying our gold touched down in London, as had the plane crashed in sea, we had no more gold to pledge.
Enter P V Narasimha Rao. We don’t know whether he was aware of the power of free market, or his hand was forced by IMF, as commies love to say. But Indian economy was partially liberalised, and our lives got transformed.
At 30 crore in 1947, we used to starve, at 130 crore we export grain. Entry level salary of a class D staff is Rs. 20000 pm. You can just walk in and walk out with a scooter/phone. Nobody buys Maruti 800. Company discontinued the model. They go for higher models. Maruti 800 has become too pedestrian. Most urban homes have AC.
And Delhi Mumbai airfare is still Rs. 5000. Anytime you walk into the airport, you will have a flight.
Another crisis is upon us thirty years later. Can Modi use it to set the economy totally free and complete the liberalisation?
Let us see. After all, his own party worships Red if it is wrapped in saffron. And the section that most benefitted from Liberalisation, salary wise and perks wise, the government employees, is dead against it. That is the power of economic illiteracy, reinforced daily by the Leftist thugs in schools, colleges, media, popular culture, and politics.
After all, only the fools, or blinds, or evil minds, can not see the magical difference in our lives post 1990.