In 1991, India was battling an economic crisis worsened by high oil prices caused due to the Gulf War, cost of imports and low forex reserves. That’s when Prime Minister Narsimha Rao brought in Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister, and backed him to turn around India’s fortunes with sweeping reforms that liberalised the economy. His move to cut interest rates alongside higher fiscal spending during the 2008 financial crisis helped India weather a storm, but led to India’s own crisis in 2013.
Lamented delayed decisions
Years later, Manmohan Singh is still respected, but his second term as PM is marred by rising prices and the 2G scam among other things. As for Infosys founder Narayana Murthy, Singh was extraordinary but growth under his government was stalled. While addressing students and entrepreneurs at IIM Ahmedabad, the former tech CEO said that while he was on HSBC Bank’s board in London, China was mentioned 30 times, while India was mentioned only once in 2012.
He added that the decisions were not taken, delaying progress during UPA-2, and urged the younger generation to make people mention India every time a country like China is mentioned. Narayana Murthy told students that during his era expectations from India weren’t as high as now, and hence the present generation has more responsibilities.
Joined HSBC as it shifted focus
Naryana Murthy was inducted into HSBC’s board after the 2008 financial crisis, as the bank decided to focus on emerging markets. In 2012, India had been listed as a priority growth market by HSBC.
Founded in 1865 as Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC was listed as a threat to national security by China in 2020, over fraudulent activities. At the same time HSBC is eyeing expansion in India after robust growth in profits driven by corporate borrowing.
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