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BW Businessworld

Past Perfect, Future Tense?

BW Businessworld, in this issue, pays its tribute to the Bharat Ratna, discussing his legacy, and the impressions of many leading lights who worked with him

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Empowering the individual means empowering the nation. And empowerment is best served through rapid economic growth with rapid social change. 
Atal Bihari Vajpayee

A man who spoke simple yet powerful language,
A Hindi that sounded like the most pure language of the globe,
Someone who only reflected honesty from his personality,
Who looked as simple as our Nation, tried his best as a politician,
He was too honest – Was that a weakness, when it came to ruling the Nation?
Nevertheless a true human, a true Indian.
Adieu to him!

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was arguably the tallest statesman in post-Nehru India. Not only did he lay the foundation for the massive expansion of the BJP, he provided a model of good governance — something that is the signature slogan of the BJP today.

Vajpayee was also a rightful inheritor of P.V. Narasimha Rao’s legacy of economic reforms. He fathered the second-generation reforms, which included the privatisation of 32 state-run enterprises during his term, despite opposition from the RSS-Swadeshi Jagran Manch combine.
Vajpayee was everything that many would argue the BJP misses today — a gentle colossus, a coalition builder, and a true poet-politician. BW Businessworld, in this issue, pays its tribute to the Bharat Ratna, discussing his legacy, and the impressions of many leading lights who worked with him.

Vajpayee also made India nuclear, giving the country a strategic edge. Yet, we find that in the past few regimes, through sheer inertia and lethargy, defence reforms have not really taken off. Critics blame it on policy paralysis. We aspire to indigenise 75 per cent of India’s defence production needs by 2025. Present indicators suggest we are nowhere near the target. Make in India in defence has failed to take off. We raise the question in our first cover story: Is our defence grounded?

The past week has been eventful. This past Independence Day saw PM Narendra Modi make important announcements. We chose the day to ask — what are the freedoms that Corporate India seeks? A number of leading corporate leaders write on the theme in this present issue.
We also did a survey of Corporate India, and the findings were surprising. For instance, India may have taken giant strides in ease of doing business rankings, but Corporate India thinks that founding a business remains an extremely complex process, and a herculean task, something that needs urgent attention. Also, PM Modi remains the most-feted PM for Corporate India. But when it comes to the most business-friendly party in terms of facilitating ease of doing business, it’s the Congress, not the BJP, finds our survey.

Former PM Manmohan Singh might call it a poetic justice, more so because a new set of data put out by a National Statistical Commission sub-committee shows that his government clocked a growth rate of 10.08 per cent in 2006-07.

Corporate India’s independence, thus, is our second cover story this issue.

This issue of BW Businessworld comes with all other regular features and columns.

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Happy reading!