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No innovations in public policy can succeed without reasonable consensus: Manmohan Singh

No innovations in public policy can succeed without reasonable consensus: Manmohan Singh


There is no room for authoritarian impositions from above and such actions are leading to a loss of faith of the business community in the government, apart from creating hardships and pain for the vulnerable sections of society, according to the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“As Prime Minister, you have to factor in the political and social implications,” Dr. Singh says at the The Hindu BusinessLine Changemakers Awards function in New Delhi on Friday.


Dr. Singh said, “No innovations in the public policy realm can succeed without a reasonable consensus about it. We have opted for a democratic path for ourselves. There is no room for authoritarian impositions from above. Perhaps I may be allowed to add that it is the responsibility of the leadership of our country to temper the harshness of change, especially for the more vulnerable sections of our society.”

It was the task of statesmen to take the citizens into confidence and explain to them the need for a particular change, since it was never easy to make citizens accept deprivation, however temporary it may be, he noted.

“Of late, some negative perceptions have been manufactured about business leaders. The business community, big and small, has been made to feel the wrath of coercive agencies. A hostile narrative has been built. This will sap not only the confidence of our business leaders, but it will also create doubts in the minds of foreign governments and business leaders. Honest businessmen and genuine entrepreneurs must never be allowed to feel harassed by the petty revenue official. Unfortunately, trust between the government and business is somewhat been eroded,” he said.

Dr. Singh also spoke about how social policy becomes acceptable when it is seen to be fair and equitable, and also about how the social compact between the government and the people must be just and even-handed.

Reform long overdue: Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the context of the Goods and Services Tax that any transformative change would have teething trouble. But he pointed out that the reform was long overdue.

Speaking about the priorities of the government in the future, he said there were four major areas where the priority should remain – rural, defence procurement, health and education, and infrastructure.

'Double-digit growth entirely possible'

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said that moving from a 7% growth rate to double-digit growth was entirely possible. The majority of the jobs were being created in the services sector rather than in manufacturing, he observed.

On external trade, he said India had a stake in the World Trade Organisation and its modernization was necessary to help aid India’s growth.

The Hindu BusinessLine Changemakers awardees included the petitioners against Section 377 and the GST Council, joint winners of the Changemakers of the Year Award. The social transformation award went to the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, the digital transformation award to eNAM, and the iconic changemaker award to Bezwada Wilson. The young changemaker award went to Anju Verma, and Kush and Arjun Pandey.

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Advisory Committee: Yves Berthelot (France),  PV Rajagopal (India), Vandana Shiva (India), Oliver de Schutter (Belgium), Mazide N’Diaye (Senegal), Gabriela Monteiro (Brazil), Irakli Kakabadze (Georgia), Anne Pearson (Canada), Liz Theoharis (USA), Sulak Sivaraksa (Thailand), Jagat Basnet (Nepal), Miloon Kothari (India),  Irene Santiago (Philippines), Arsen Kharatyan (Armenia), Margrit Hugentobler (Switzerland), Jill Carr-Harris (Canada/India), Reva Joshee (Canada), Sonia Deotto (Mexico/Italy),Benjamin Joyeux (Geneva/France), Aneesh Thillenkery, Ramesh Sharma, Ran Singh (India)