"I have a very deep belief that Cabinet posts should be filled with politicians unless the economy is in serious meltdown, as it was in 1991, when Manmohan became finance minister," he explained.
"That was a time when nobody when was going to give India any money. People forget that we had to pawn our entire gold stock. Normally when you have gold stock, the International Monetary Fund accepts that that gold stock is there, and gives you money against it. India had to physically move the gold stock out of India, abroad. I'm informed, by very, very reliable sources, that the van taking the gold to the airport broke down, and there was total panic."
Desai used this point to illustrate how far India had come economically in such a short span of time. Now, he argued, India is better prepared to handle economic downturns, even ones as severe as the current ongoing global financial crisis.
For one, Desai suggested, today India has the capacity to provide a financial stimulus. "I think a stimulus package is necessary, yes. Bailouts, no. The Indian financial system has more or less held up very well. But there is a real need for a fiscal stimulus. Now that the elections are done; we can do the stimulus package."