The socio-economic-political order Jawaharlal Nehru fashioned and Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi kept going, with
modifications, is in deep trouble. It cannot possibly be
restored to health. The changes that have been launched
in the economy, beginning with devaluation of the rupee
by around 20 per cent, cannot help rescue the old order.
If they are allowed to proceed by the logic of their
inner dynamism which is doubtful, they must instead
transform the system and produce a new one. A comparison
with the former Soviet Union, or former Soviet
satellites, will clearly be overdrawn. But, in some ways,
the comparison may not be wholly inept. The Nehru order,
after all, was a product of the cold war.
An intricate power arrangement has informed the
economic order which is now sought to be reshaped. The power holders and power
brokers are too numerous and too well entrenched at all levels of Indian public
life and administration to be quickly and painlessly dislodged. They will fight
back. The stakes are high. The minister of state for commerce boasted after the
announcement of the new import-export policy in early July 1991 that he was told
that he had given away around Rs.70 crores a year by way of bribes fir himself!