Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that a "well-conceived strategy" was needed to make India a five trillion economy.
Mr Singh was speaking at the JK Lakshmipat University, where he was felicitated with the ''JKLU Laureate Award 2019'' for his contribution in public service, governance, economy and nation building.
"Presently, our economy seems to have slowed down. The rate of growth of GDP is declining, investment rate is stagnant, farmers are in distress, banking system is facing a crisis and unemployment is going up. We need a well-conceived strategy to make India a five trillion economy," he said.
He suggested that the government should forbid tax terrorism, respect independent voices and provide for checks and balances at every level.
"The need of the hour is to continue with economic reforms," he said.
The Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan said that the country needs principled, knowledgeable and visionary leaders in times to come to strengthen democracy.
Mr Singh said political parties must be committed for safeguarding the values enshrined in the country's Constitution.
"For our continued unity, the government has to deliver justice, liberty, equality and an environment that respects contrary opinions," he said, adding, that supremacy of parliament and its procedures, the rules of the government and precedents have to be respected.
Mr Singh further said that a functional democracy has definite advantages over an authoritarian regime.
Citing the example of China in context of economic development, he said such countries, by persuading citizens to focus primarily on economic growth, created an atmosphere in which sacrificing personal freedom could be justified.
"The loss of freedom, in the long term run, is not a small price to pay," he commented.
Talking about liberal democracy, he said that it is a model of good governance that includes freedom, pursuit of equality, power sharing, deliberation, periodic elections, independent institutions, and the rule of law.
Referring to the economic reforms introduced in 1991 by the then Congress government, Mr Singh said the steps have led to an improvement in the living standards of the people.
With more purchasing power, demand in the economy goes up, encouraging private investment, more government revenues to fund infrastructure needs and a reduction in social conflict, he added.
"Thus, it is clear that through these channels, democracy does increase economic growth," he said.
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