The balance of payments (BOP) crisis was the immediate trigger but the other challenge was problem of slow growth, says Montek Singh Ahluwalia
An economist of international renown, Montek Singh Ahluwalia has been a key figure in India’s economic reforms journey from the 1980s. As commerce secretary and then finance secretary when P.V. Narasimha Rao was prime minister, Ahluwalia was part of the team that ‘liberalized’ India’s economy. He’d been an adviser to former prime minister V.P. Singh, and took on this position again in prime minister A.B. Vajpayee’s office. During the 10 years of the Manmohan Singh-led government, he was deputy chairman of erstwhile Planning Commission. Ahluwalia, the author of Backstage: The Story Behind India’s High Growth Years, tells Mint how a team of economists, politicians and bureaucrats worked together to bring the 1991 crisis under control, cracking open a political space to reverse the interventionist economic policies of the first four decades after Independence.