At a board meeting in Mumbai last week, the discussion went beyond taking organisational decisions into the future of economic reforms. On top of the agenda was pension reforms. In any such discussion, faces usually light up, ideas begin to stream. But this time, in a matter of a few minutes, the faces were crestfallen, the ideas were conspicuous by their absence. I have yet to see a group of men, managing hundreds of thousands of crores, so pessimistic on the future.
With nobody else left to strike at, they blamed the reforms troika of Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambaram and Montek Singh Ahluwalia for backtracking on reforms. They said that despite having icons of liberalisation at the helm of affairs, reforms in the UPA administration have reversed; what the NDA had begun, the UPA has ended. Their conclusion: having reformists is no guarantee to having reforms delivered.
Opinion in The Indian Express, October 06, 2006