Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has credited former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru with bringing India out of “utter stagnation” and said the country would have been growing at 21 per cent or more today had it maintained the “Nehruvian rate of growth”.
Speaking at the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) here on Thursday, the former Union minister said the Nehruvian tradition appeared to have been abandoned in almost every aspect of nation-building.
“Angus Madison (British economist) had estimated our growth rate from 1914-47 as 0.72 per cent per annum… But in Nehru’s first few years, we went up from 0.72 to 3.5 per cent. Now that is seven times.
“It is such an amazing achievement that if we have maintained the Nehruvian rate of growth, we would today be growing at 21 per cent, or even more, perhaps 42 per cent,” Aiyar said during a discussion on his autobiography — “Memoirs of A Maverick: The First Fifty Years (1941–1991)”.
Nehru’s policies brought the country out of “utter stagnation” and put it on the path of growth, he said.
The diplomat-turned-politician underlined the need for India to return to Nehruvian values and said the most important of these, unity in diversity, has been facing a grave threat over the last 10 years.
India today is much more emotionally disintegrated than it was in 2014 and if the trend continues, then “we will either move towards a vicious dictatorship or we’ll move towards disintegration of India”, the 82-year-old Congress leader said.