The first 100 days of a government are usually laden with immense reformist possibilities. Manmohan Singh should know. He used his first 100 days as finance minister in P.V. Narasimha Rao’s government to demolish the crumbling edifice of statist economic policy; the Congress old guard fought back once the economic crisis receded.
Manmohan Singh was not able to use the first 100 days of his two stints as Prime Minister to push economic reforms. He was something of an accidental prime minister in 2004, getting the top job only after Sonia Gandhi wisely decided to stay out. He had more political confidence in 2009, but his government had to concentrate on economic stabilization rather than long term reforms.
All is not lost. Manmohan Singh should use the first 100 days of 2010 for a new burst of reforms. He told Outlook recently that he has read a new biography in 2009, FDR: The First Hundred Days. “A remarkable account of how it was possible to harmonize a vibrant vision of reform with prevailing political realilties...” Go ahead, Mr PM.