Being an economist himself, Desai was asked to assess the prime minister's skills as an economic scholar. "Dr Singh is an applied economist. To make a name for yourself in our field, you have to study economic theory. He was never going to win a Nobel Prize for his work, because he didn't do theory," he stated bluntly. "Don't overestimate him as an economist and don't underestimate him as a politician."
As for the important position of finance minister, Desai laid out the agenda he would pursue if he were named to the post: "All subsidies for the middle class must be removed. Move from an income tax to an expenditure tax. Privatise most of the banks. All transactions above Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million) should necessitate a bank deposit."
He added that he disagreed with the decision to appoint Pranab Mukherjee as the finance minister. Still, he said, he prefers this option rather than selecting a specialised economist from outside the realm of politics, as many have suggested.