Having faced criticism over corruption issues and alleged ‘policy paralysis’ during his second term as the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh on Wednesday received rare support from the chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, days before he demits the office.
While praising the Prime Minister for his work during UPA-I and also for his “high personal values” and “dignity” over the ten-year period, Ratan Tata, however, did not miss out on highlighting the inadequacies during his second term. “The Indian economy grew impressively under his leadership in the first five years of his Prime Ministership but regrettably fell prey to massive inflationary forces followed by an unprecedented decline in investment activity resulting from allegations of subjective policy execution and exploitation,” Tata tweeted on Wednesday.
Tata had earlier, on several occasions, made his candid thoughts on the government and governance, public. In December 2012, in an interview to the Financial Times, Tata stated that the lack of support from the government was preventing the Indian industry from competing with China and he lashed out at a “venal” business environment.
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Making clear that his Group planned to look at other emerging markets for expansion, Tata accused the Prime Minister of forcing the firm to look abroad by failing to address complaints about bureaucracy.
He has also been critical of the government for its ‘lackadaisical’ approach in finding out the source of leakage of tapped telephonic conversations of Niira Radia with top politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen, including him.
Meanwhile, leaders of several other prominent corporate houses have called for a strong mandate for the upcoming government and have pinned their hopes on the formation of a government led by Narendra Modi.
“It is very important that he (Modi) gets a majority so that there is a stable government, at least with his allies who are not looking to their greed, but are in alignment to see how the economic growth comes and good governance comes,” Gopichand Hinduja, co-Chairman, Hinduja Group told CNN.
Pointing out that it will take some effort from the new government to bring back growth rates of 7-8 per cent within two to three years (if there is stable government and good governance), he said that it will not be easy to bring in good governance. “The whole system has to be changed … And I think it takes a lot of effort and we cannot expect the 10 per cent growth to come the next day.”
He also said that investors want to jump in but lack of good governance led to a setback in sentiments.
Even RP Singhania, chairman and MD of JK Tyre & Industries, pointed out that growth should be brought back and manufacturing needs to be provided the necessary impetus. “We hope the steps initiated by the new government reverses the current downturn into a growth momentum, which is really the need of the hour. There is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that if India needs to achieve the next level of growth, it will need to build on its infrastructure capabilities with a very strong focus on manufacturing,” he said.