Bharat Ratna & Visionary leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who passed away at the age of 93, was the real forerunner for several economic reforms in India. Once he said, “Empowering the individual means empowering the nation. And empowerment is best served through rapid economic growth with rapid social change.” If we evaluate this quote, we can see his hidden vision to drive and take the Indian economy to a new height. His stint in office (all three terms) is remembered for a variety of reasons. It really make sense if we call him the real father of reforms in India. Below mentioned are a few historical economic decisions that former PM Vajpayee took to change the face of Indian economy:
To grow the private business in India, It was for the first time ever in India, a Department of Disinvestment to process privatization candidates was formed and a Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment formed to accord expeditious approvals. It gave a new wing to the Indian economy. Bharat Aluminium Company (BALCO) and Hindustan Zinc, Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited and VSNL are few most prominent examples. As per a report published in DNA INDIA, around 32 state-owned companies and hotels being sold to private firms in his five years tenure.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Yes don’t be surprized, it’s not actually Narendra Modi or Manmohan Singh behind the GST. Though it was implemented back in July, 2017, however, it was Vajpayee who had first presented the idea of a common taxation system for goods and services across the country. In 2000, the Vajpayee-led government had formed a committee to find the path and to ensure that the GST system should take place. However, he could not see it happen due to the lack of consensus among the parties and states govts. His dream was finally took place after 17 years and Modi was finally able to make it happen. You can easily imagine his economic and business understanding by one fact, the GDP growth in his tenure was 8% during his tenure.
We can call him the father of “Telecom Reform in India” Today if we have approx 984 million active cell phone users (as of May 2018) It is not only because of JIO, the main credit goes to Vajpayee. In 1999, the Vajpayee government introduced a new Telecom Policy where a revenue-sharing regime was started. It was to end the state monopolies for the entities like BSNL and the revenue sharing model helped reduce the call rates and getting cheaper as well as affordable mobile phones. To further enhance the telecom industry, he later formed The “Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal”.
You cannot reach your destination without a good road. Keeping the same in mind he introduced the most ambitious road construction projects Golden Quadrilateral and the Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojna. It made the transportation easy and boosted the Indian economy by connecting tire 1 cities – Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai through a network of highways.
Delhi Metro Train (This part is originally taken from Hindustan Times)
“Please implement it immediately” was his prompt response when then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpyee was told that the Delhi Metro project has been stalled for years, recalled former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit. In another words he had gifted the speed by inaugurating the very first Delhi Metro to the national capital. The first section of the Metro between Shahdara and Tis Hazari (now Red Line) was inaugurated by Vajpayee on December 24, 2002. When he reached Kashmere Gate Metro Station, Vajpayee had two hundred rupee notes. “Vajpayeeji insisted on paying for his ride. He purchased a smart card from the ticket counter in the presence of other senior dignitaries who had come for the inauguration.