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Rise and fall of PVN...

Rise and fall of PVN...

“Starting with the hangover of Ayodhya demolition and ending with Dr Manmohan Singh’s resignation offer, 1993 was truly an eventful year...” stated a postscript in the January issue of the New Year. The observations on Dr Singh’s offer of resignation said: “except perhaps T T Krishnamachari, no other Indian finance minister has brought such innovation, drive and dynamism into the finance portfolio as did Manmohan Singh.” After tracing the launch of the economic reforms under the direct supervision of the former RBI governor, it said: “there is a long road ahead... The best bet as yet for doing these is a professional like Dr Manmohan Singh, whose proven record should goad the major political parties to join hands in asking the Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao not to accept his resignation. Particularly with the budget presentation just some six weeks away, the consummate skills of this pragmatic economist is needed more than ever before.” That the Congress could resurrect itself despite its weak leadership was the take-off point. In his Notes, the Editor struck a personal note to pay homage to his mother who had passed away in February, recalling with gratitude how she stood with him when he took a bold gamble by switching from teaching in a college to launching a magazine.  

Did Narendra Modi have access to the 1994 June cover story, you will wonder when you read the front page note which said: “it appears much easier to enter White House through Wall Street. Business and not politics are going to matter more in the coming years. It was good strategy for Prime Minister Rao to have met President Clinton after euphoric meetings with business, the academy and the Congress.”  A trendsetter that Rao was, he had shown the right way to the political heart of the U.S. The August issue records a global landmark: the fall of the Berlin Wall and the American and German Presidents crossing the Brandenburg Gate for the first time after World War II – reported in detail in first person by the Editor.  The German connection came up again in December with the whole issue devoted to the fact that “the Germans are coming.” In his first-hand report, the Editor said, “Germany (is) looking out again after her preoccupation with unification and expanding into Eastern Europe.” Reporting on the year-end Economic Editors’ Conference in the November issue, the Editor wrote that the mood among policymakers and ministers who addressed it was optimistic while he listed the areas of concern. 

 

Disaster for Congress in South

The start of 1995 proved disastrous for the Congress party and its government led by P V Narasimha Rao, raising the fear that the economic liberalisation it had launched may slow down. The cause was the defeat of the party in key state elections in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The editorial commented on the impact of the rebellion against PV by the old warhorse Arjun Singh, whose own ambitions of becoming Prime Minister had been thwarted by the choice of PV. In an article, Dr M Anandakrishnan spoke of the fast increasing number of universities and colleges and said: “with nearly 200 universities and 50 lakh under-graduate students in all branches of arts and science, any effort to improve the quality of college education will require huge investments” and concluded, “in the context of the economic reforms it will become increasingly inevitable for many of the industries to seek the support of academic and research institutions for advice, guidance or specific collaboration.” 

The next issue had a cover story on the revolution in health care management brought about by Dr Apollo Hospitals’ Prathap C Reddy, hailing him as the man who heralded the revolution through his concept of corporate hospitals. “Reasons for slowdown in investments are many,” stated the headline to an article in a popular column If You Ask Me written under the pseudonym Jamadagni.  It went on to ask: “flow of foreign direct investments into India has considerably slowed down during the last couple of years. A lot needs to be done if the situation is to change for the better. Does the government have the political will to act?” It listed six reasons why the slowdown had happened. 

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