Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi & Manmohan Singh pay tributes to PV Narasimha Rao as centenary celebrations begin

Rao’s birth centenary of is an occasion to recall and pay tribute to a most scholarly and erudite personality who had a long career in state and national politics, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said

Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi & Manmohan Singh pay tributes to PV Narasimha Rao as centenary celebrations begin

NH Web Desk

Describing former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao as a dedicated Congress leader, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday said the grand old party takes pride in his accomplishments and contribution.

“Shri PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure was also marked by a number of political, social and foreign policy achievements that have endured. Above all he was a dedicated Congress man who served the party devotedly in various capacities,” she said in a message read out by Telangana Congress President Uttam Kumar Reddy.

The Congress in Telangana launched the centenary celebrations of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao on July 24.

Congratulating the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee for having organised the year long celebrations, she said, “Shri PV Narasimha Rao was a very respected national and international figure. The Congress party takes pride in his many accomplishments and contributions.”

The birth centenary of Rao is an occasion to recall and pay tribute to a most scholarly and erudite personality who after a long career in state and national politics, the Prime Minister of the country at a time of “grave economic crisis”, she added.

Gandhi noted that the union budget of July 24 1991, paved the way for the economic transformation of our country.

In a message, Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi congratulated the Telangana PCC on organizing a yearlong celebration to commemorate the birth centenary of our late Prime Minister Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao. “On this occasion, we celebrate the legacy of a man whose contribution continues to shape modern India. From joining the Congress party in his teenage years to becoming the PM of the largest democracy, his remarkable political journey reflected his grit and determination July 24" marks the twenty ninth anniversary of the 1991 budget. On this day, India embarked on a bold new path of economic transformation. Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh played a pivotal role in ushering in the era of liberalisation,” he said.

“I hope this event will revive interest among our youth to learn about India's growth story and the remarkable individuals who made this possible,” he added.

In his message, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “I am extremely happy that the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee is holding year-long Birth Centenary celebrations of a great son of the soil, our former Prime Minister Late Shri PV Narasimha Rao Ji. I consider it a great privilege to inaugurate these celebrations today.

“I am particularly happy that this programme has been organised on a day on which I had the privilege, as the Finance Minister of India, for presenting the first budget of Shri Narasimha Rao Ji’s government in 1991. The Government took office just after the sad demise of Shri Rajiv Gandhi Ji. I had said in my budget speech, referring to Shri Rajiv Gandhi that he “is no more. But his dream lives on; his dream of ushering India into the twenty-first century; his dream of a strong, united, technologically sophisticated but humane India.” I had dedicated that budget to his inspiring memory,” he said.

“It was a budget that changed India in many ways. It ushered in economic reforms and liberalisation. It was a hard choice and a bold decision and it was possible because Prime Minister Narasimha Rao Ji gave me the freedom to roll out things, after he fully understood what was ailing India’s economy at that time. On this day, while inaugurating his birth centenary celebrations, I pay my humble respects to the man who had the vision and the courage to push these reforms. Like Rajiv Ji, Narasimha Rao Ji too had great concern for the poor of the country and had told the then Managing Director of IMF, Mr. Michel Camdessus that reforms in India ‘would have to be mindful of Indian concerns’,” he added.

“Economic reforms were preceded by a push in that direction when Shri Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. Before that Smt Indira Gandhi, herself was able to grasp the importance of re-orienting our economic policies. But real tough decisions had to be urgently taken in 1991, as we were faced with a foreign exchange crisis, with foreign exchange reserves down to about two weeks’ imports, bringing the nation to the edge of a precipice. But then politically it was a big question if one could take hard decisions to meet the challenging situation. It was a precariously placed minority Government, which was dependent on outside support for stability. Yet Narasimha Rao Ji was able to carry everyone along, convincing them with his conviction. Enjoying his confidence, I went about my job to carry forward his vision. Victor Hugo had once said that no power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come - India’s emergence as major economic power was one such idea. There was an arduous journey ahead but it was time to let the whole world know loud and clear that India was wide awake. The rest is history. Looking back, Narasimha Rao Ji can truly be called the father of Economic Reforms in India,” Manmohan Singh said.

“Economic Reforms and Liberalisation were indeed his biggest contribution but his contributions to the country in different fields cannot be underestimated. On the Foreign Affairs front, he made efforts to improve the relationship with our neighbours including China. India signed the South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement along with the SAARC countries. Then the “Look East Policy” was also his brainchild to link India with East and South-East Asian countries. It was also under his leadership that the Indian Space programme got an impetus with the successful testing of the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) and the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). India also successfully tested the Prithvi Missile to strengthen and enhance external security capability. He had also asked Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam in 1996 to get ready for nuclear tests to take India to join a new league, which were later conducted by Prime Minister Vajpayee-led NDA Government in 1998,” he added.

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