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India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh

Singh also said that a “well conceived strategy” was needed to make India a five-trillion economy.

Updated
India
4 min read

India needs principled, knowledgeable and visionary leaders to strengthen democracy, former prime minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday, 7 September. He added that to ensure continued unity, the government must deliver justice, liberty, equality and an environment that respects contrary opinions.

Singh was speaking at the JK Lakshmipat University in Jaipur, where he was felicitated with the 'JKLU Laureate Award 2019' for his contribution in public service, governance, economy and nation building.

The Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan also said that a "well conceived strategy" was needed to make India a five-trillion economy.

Here are key highlights from his speech:

On Strengthening Our Democracy

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh
India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh

Singh further said that our thriving democracy is a shining beacon of hope and inspiration to a world that is yearning and striving to become democratic.

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh
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On Making India A Five-Trillion Economy

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh

On Economic Reforms and ‘Tax Terrorism’

The need of the hour is to continue with economic reforms, Singh said. He suggested that the government should forbid 'tax terrorism', respect independent voices and provide for checks and balances at every level.

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh
India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh

The Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan said that supremacy of parliament and its procedures, the rules of the government and precedents have to be respected.

On Reducing Crime and Corruption

Institutions like the Supreme Court, the Election Commission and the CBI are expected to function independently within the framework of the Constitution, Singh said, adding that a functional democracy has definite advantages over an authoritarian regime.

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh
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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.

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh

"In the long run, a functioning democracy has definite advantages over an authoritarian regime. The loss of freedom, in the long term run, is not a small price to pay," he said.

On Free and Independent Media

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh

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.

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On Challenges Before Democracy

The former prime minister also talked about the challenges before the Indian democracy including social inequality, communalism, casteism, religious fundamentalism, and corruption.

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh

India has an ancient culture of tolerance and respect for divergent views and a population accustomed to political opposition and peaceful transfer of power for over seven decades, he said.

India Needs Principled, Knowledgeable Leaders, Says Manmohan Singh

"There is no denying that efforts to tackle these challenges are continuous and ongoing, but the results are not wholly satisfactory,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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