When Manmohan Singh took over the reigns as PM in 2004 India was growing at a pace of 5-6% annually. It was the vision of improving the Services sector that gave Manmohan Singh regime the growth of 10% in the 10 years regime he presided over. The services sector grew at a fast clip of over 11% yearly within the services the telecom sector grew at around 10%, Construction around 11%, Banking Finance and real estate sector by around 12%.
If today’s youth wants jobs in services sector it is partly thanks to Manmohan Singh who made tele density (rise from 1.5% to 45%) through mobile phone reality in every remote location of India. Today’s mobile surfing youth has to remember that it’s the spectrum allocation which Dr Singh ushered that has made internet cheap efficient and available to all.
If after Agriculture there is one sector that has the second highest employment it’s the Services sector with 27% population employed. Besides this the Manufacturing sector too saw a fast growth of 7-8 % (with 10% growth between 2005-2009) this growth could be seen not just in formal but also in informal sector which saw a growth of nearly 4% annually thereby creating a boom in unregistered employment. The contribution of employment was nearly 25% in industrial segment this being only registered/formal employment.
Another area which witnessed a very high growth during the Manmohan Singh regime was the electricity sector, the generation grew at nearly 6-7% annually and it was not just the consumption from industrial sector but the rural electrification that was completed of nearly 97% of the estimated 6 lakh villages in India during his tenure.
This fast paced development along with NREGA and food security lead to sharp fall in poverty with number of poor falling from 407 million in 2004 to 250 million in 2013. Ironically if Manmohan Singh regime today is being targeted for scams in telecom and coal (electricity) sector then it is to be rethought if these two sectors that gave India the high growth and prosperity really have scams in them.
Manmohan Singh when asked about the these scams had said ‘history will view him kindly’ but today when we look back it is not just history but even the present generation which uses mobile phone with cheap data and has electricity in its homes will have Manmohan Singh to thank for.
(By Bhagyashree Pande, views expressed are personal)