Mrs. Gandhi Gave New Economic Approaches

Barbados Advocate, p. 4, January 8, 1985

9 Pages Posted: 11 May 2004



Form my personal associations, I found that Shrimathi Indira Gandhi had a special affinity to the Rose, particularly the dark-pink variety. This, probably she inherited from her father, late Shri. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Freedom Fighter, one of the founders of the Indian National Congress Party and the first Prime Minister of India. After her downfall in 1977, she formed her own party in the name of Indira Congress. Most of the intellects in India shifted their loyalty and membership to her congress, from traditional National Congress, which won the freedom for India.

A by-election held in Chikmagalore constituency, located in Karnataka state in India, seated her back on the benches of the Parliament in New Delhi, during 1980.

During the post-defeat period, she made frequent visits to the Karnataka State, a stronghold of her congress, under the Chief Ministership of Shri Gundu Rao. During all these visits, she preferred to have the Congress sessions in Lal Baugh (Flower Garden), the central botanical attraction in Bangalore, the Garden city of India, and the Capital of Karnataka State.

My duties as one of her Honorary Socio-economic Development Consultant, also included the selection and presentation of a Rose of pre-defined dark pink colour, with specified dimensions, well formed petal structures, and a selected fragrance, to her, on the arrival for any meeting or work gathering. This, I presume, was to tune her mood for successful conducting of the Congress sessions.

On Tuesday the October 30, 1984, the stains of her own blood adorned her chest, in the place where there was a dark pink Rose. Her own body-guards stained her body in gruesome dark pink colour. The flower had been crushed.

Crushing a flower cannot bring an end to its botanical characteristics. This only assisted to spread its fragrance around. The spreading of fragrance could motivate more people towards Peace and Productive thoughts, and promote their effects. So are the Indira's indefatigable qualities. The fragrance of her qualities and achievements will not only spread, assist and optimise the development of India, but are also sure to guide all the developing Third World nations.

The flower has been crushed, but the fragrance will surely spread.


My first association with Indira Gandhi in 1972, planted an innovative seed on my Economic thoughts and Management practices. She said that the laws of demand and supply, or the impact of the propensity to consume, or even the break-even pricing strategy are not needed, if one has to really contribute towards a dramatic up-liftment in the public standard of living, and motivate techno-commercial innovations in the country. She believed that correct computation and monitoring of the only two basic Public Consumption Ratios are sufficient for this purpose.

The first was a Monthly Ratio of the average food expense to the net disposable income of a house hold in each representative economic region of the country. The smaller this ratio, she said, the greater the contribution to the Biological Motivation of the population. The inference was that a region with households spending 20 percent of their disposable income to get a full and nutritious family meal, could divert their thoughts and actions towards more productive works, than a region with house holds spending 50 percent or more of their income for the same. The moral was that People who could not eat well, naturally could not aim high.

The second one was the Yearly ratio of average clothing cost to meet their satisfactory requirements to the net disposable income of a household in each representative economic region. The lesser the cost of quality clothes as the years progress she said, the greater the achievement on Public sociological motivation. The moral was that People who cannot clothe themselves well, cannot mingle well in society, and cannot learn better skills.

I suggested that an assessment of the housing needs of the people is also equally essential, as shelter forms part of the Group settlement and harmony. Her answer was that if the Government could take care of the first two ratios, then the motivation and the skills of the public will generate enough funds for the government to take care of this Capital investment in housing. This could be either leased or assigned to the people, depending upon their level in the social strata.

These ideas sounded more knowledgeable and innovative to me, than what I learned from the faculty of a Management Institution with Harvard Business School, USA collaboration, during 1964-1966. I blended these down to the earth Economic concepts with my modern Mathematical know-how in my paper An Econometric Solution to the Problems of Productivity Optimisation in India, published in the Indian Management Journal (March 1972, Pages 1 to 6 and April 1972, Pages 1 to 5. Refer to 02.02 in Publications), and later used by me as a reference material, during my Doctoral Research work.


In 1974, when she was booming with her un-challengable majority in the Indian Parliament, Mrs.Gandhi enunciated a simplified version of a Dynamic Socio-economic Development programme. She named it as a 20 Point Programme. She believed that if the country could effectively implement, monitor, and evaluate the impact of these 20 Socio-economic guidelines, then the country will prosper, and could easily break-out of the shell of its developing status.

Mr. Murli Deora, a strong Indira Gandhi supporter, and the leader of the opposition in Bombay Municipal Corporation, who later became the Mayor of the city of Bombay, recommended that I should take charge as the Honorary Computer Systems Consultant to appraise the implementation of the 20 point programme. This assignment necessitated my in-depth involvement in the data collection, recording, retrieval, tabulation, and setting action-guidelines with reference to the 20 Point programme.

I found that Mrs. Gandhi's 20 Point Programme was an expanded and an implementable version of her Two-points economic thoughts of 1972. In summary, this programme included:

4 Points for Agriculture and Urban land ceiling, Equi-distribution of wealth, Minimum agricultural wages, and Expansion in irrigation schemes.

3 Points for Worker's participation in industry, national apprenticeship scheme, and relief from Bonded labour.

3 Points for eradication of Tax evasion, Economic offences, and Smuggling activities.

2 Points for the Procurement, Distribution, and Price control on Essential commodities, with Economy in Government expenditure.

2 Points for the development of Handloom sectors, Improvement in the supply of Quality cloth.

2 Points for the Provision of housing, and Relief from indebtedness of the weaker sections of the society; and

1 Point each for accelerating the Power generation with Liberalised investment, Optimum use of import licenses, Speedy goods transportation on national level, and Books, Stationery, Food commodities supplied to schools at subsidised rates. (Total 4 Points)

This programme was implemented during 1974-1975, which coincided with the final phase of my Doctoral work, in the faculty of Management (Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, University of Bombay, India). The extraction of the features of the 20 Point Programme, and testing my hypotheses with reference to these Socio-Economic guidelines, introduced a remarkable and practical dimensions to my six final publications and open-house presentations.

The comments on my work by the Manchester Business School (UK), The International Federation for Purchasing and Materials Management (London), and Indian Association of Personnel Management (Bombay), substantiated the practicability of Shrimathi. Indira Gandhi's 20 Point Socio-Economic Development programme.

However Mrs. Gandhi was not feeling comfortable in the Parliament during 1976, particularly because of the Judgement from the Allahabad High Court, making her electoral success null and void.

Believing in the Expected success of her 20 Point Programme; and the unshakable faith in the power of the people; the need for an opportunity to clean the public life of confusion; and to uphold the fair name of India as a land committed to the path of reconciliation, peace and progress, she advised the President of India to dissolve the Parliament and order fresh elections, even though she could have legally continued for about another 15 months.

Contradictory to her expectation that 1977 will prove to be a year of added stability, strength, and continued achievement, she and her Parliamentary supporters were completely routed in the elections. That was the fate of her ingenious 20 point Programme, in the hands of the Indian masses.

Simultaneously, the then nationalised Multi-national petroleum company, which was my employer upto 1976, acquired inefficiency and lacked productivity orientation. I decided at that juncture, the time was right for me to explore my talents in the Petro-dollar rich Middle-East region.

My exposure to the Management Decision methodology during 1977-1979, in a different Socio-Economic setup at Qatar, my involvement in a US Embassy sponsored Computer Technology workshop in Bahrain, and synchronisation of the inventory control system with online entry/enquiry features to the agent of General Motors in Qatar, gave opportunity to adopt Modern techniques to effectively evaluate the results of the 20 Point Programme.

When I returned to India, and participated in her Congress meeting held in the Glass house, at Lal Baugh, Bangalore, on July 15, 1979, Mrs. Gandhi was keen to evaluate the Socio-Economic impact of her 20 Point Programme in Karnataka State.

Accordingly, I programmed the evaluation logic in the computers of the Karnataka State Government Computer Centre. Presentation of these analysis, and the associated proven Socio-Economic Development impact in a systematic fashion was one of the factors to bring her back to power in 1980, with absolute majority in the Parliament.

Her absence from power during 1977-1979, and her reinstatement in 1980, could be credited to her action oriented plan, and her devotion to their effective implementation.


Indian Politicians will never attempt to antogonise the labour class, particularly by interfering with worker's bonuses. This is because the labour vote is vital and majority in industrial regions, bonus is invariably the issue of industrial disputes, and a hard labour-management negotiation tool. Shrimathi. Indira Gandhi used to express a different opinion on this matter.

Her view was that in the political arena, one should choose whether to antagonise the future of the Country at a Macro level, or to satisfy a group at a Micro level. We shall have only one goal, and that is to build Social and Economic justice.

On November 10, 1976, while inaugurating the National Convention on Productivity, held in New Delhi, she declared that Industries should think in terms of long-term productivity agreements by giving incentives to labour, in place of the old and illogical bonus system.

In all Manufacturing sectors, efficiency and productivity alone could decide their continued corporate existence, increased profitability and enhancement in employment opportunities. However, through research, I found that Corporate Productivity is related to the Employee performance appraisal system, and linked through the infra-structure Management Systems. It implies that a corporate sector, before expecting an improved productivity and efficiency from their workers, has to provide a satisfactory appraisal system for their workers on the one hand, and ensure the presence of adequate technical and other management systems to enable the workers to perform their expected duties on the other hand.

When I communicated these implications on Productivity to Shrimathi. Indira Gandhi, she replied that The term Productivity has three implications. In a work level, it upgrades the skills and the efficiency of individuals; in a corporate level, it aids cost reduction; and in a national level, it increases the supply of goods at Socially acceptable Quality as well as at Economically justifiable prices. Given these three identifiable characteristics for the term Productivity, then the workers should be happy to accept this as a commitment to the society where they live; and as a contribution to the nation, where they cherish. Also, it is the duty of the manufacturing sectors to ensure the presence of all requirements to enable their workers to achieve the endeavor, to which they are committed.

This provided a new dimensional insight for me to link the Socio-Economic Development, Productivity, and the Management Decision process, through Mathematical Modeling techniques. Accordingly, my redefinition of Productivity was the ratio of Socio-Economic goals to Input as well as Output, given a favorable ratio of Output to Input. This new model, which modified the traditional concept of productivity as a mere material ratio of Output to Input, originated my post-Doctoral research work on A solution model for Intangible Components in Management Decision process, and the associated ten publications.

Her optimism on Productivity raised India to one of the top ten industrial nations, upgraded the Indian professionals to the top third accredited international standards; and achieved a remarkable level of Self-sufficiency, irrespective of the often repeated confrontations in India, such as Rural versus Urban, Agriculture versus Industry, Labour versus Capital, and the Individual versus the Nation.


Shrimathi. Indira Gandhi was free, fearless, and clear in her thoughts and actions. She upgraded the value of the life of the Common Man in India, and left a wealth of Souci-Economic Development know-how, which will be useful to all the Third World Developing nations.

As she declared a day before her assassination, Even if I die in the service of this nation, I would be proud of it. Every drop of my blood, I am sure, will contribute to the growth of this nation, and make it strong and dynamic.

The flower has been crushed, and I am sure that the fragrance will surely spread and contribute to the growth of the nation, and make it strong and dynamic.

Keywords: Social Development, Economic Development, Productivity, Indira Gandhi, Mrs. Gandhi, 20 Point Program, Political Economics, Mass Development, Government Strategy

JEL Classification: A11, B31, D11, D18, D21, F02, F15, H11, I31

Suggested Citation

Subramaniam, Viswanatha Sankara Rama, Mrs. Gandhi Gave New Economic Approaches. Barbados Advocate, p. 4, January 8, 1985, Available at SSRN:

Viswanatha Sankara Rama Subramaniam (Contact Author)

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