25 years of India’s liberalisation and what life was like in 1991

Luis Miranda has this post and also tells us about this website – http://indiabefore91.in/  He recalls his experiences in India before 1991 and post 1991. The same is the case with the website which has other people reflecting on their experiences.

Miranda moved to India as a forex dealer just before July 1991 and most people called it great foresight. He thinks it was just plain luck:

I was a young FX dealer in 1991 when PV Narasimha Rao took over as prime minister and, together with Manmohan Singh, opened up the Indian economy. I had returned to India a couple of years prior to that, much against the advice of every Indian I knew. Many years later, after the economy opened up, people told me that I had timed my return perfectly and I had showed great foresight. The honest truth is that it was a ‘Forrest Gump’ moment – I was being interviewed by Jaidev Iyer in New York for a job with Citibank Asia Pacific and he sold me the dream of returning to India, marketing FX products and getting paid peanuts! It sounded very tempting and here I was. No great foresight on my part at all that we were on the cusp of a major transformation in India.

Fast forward to 2016, the 25th anniversary of the big bang opening up of the Indian economy in 1991. Most Indians today do not remember what life was like under a socialistic regime – half the country was not even born by then! Some of them are disillusioned with the semi-capitalistic society we live in today … a world where we have more economic freedom, where consumers have choice (do you remember the Bajaj scooter, HMT watch, Ambassador and Fiat cars, Indian Airlines and the waiting period to get a telephone or gas connection?), where entrepreneurs and employees have legally made wealth way beyond their dreams, where most of the poor are better off and where India is globally treated as a super power. Instead, the media focuses on inequality and corruption, and we forget how far we have travelled since 1991. In order to remind us about those dark days, the Centre for Civil Society has launched a portal – IndiaBefore91.in – to crowd-source stories about what life was like 25 years ago and before.

At the launch of the portal recently in Delhi, we had an interesting panel discussion with Jairam Ramesh (former minister, whose latest book is To the Brink and Back – India’s 1991 Story), Arvind Virmani (economist and former bureaucrat), Didar Singh (secretary general, FICCI) and Praveen Chakravarty (Visiting Fellow, IDFC Institute).

Cometh July, be ready for more and more on the 25th anniversary.

Do check the website..http://indiabefore91.in/. Some interesting trivia…


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