Business Today

1998: Buddha smiles again

At 3.45 p.m. on May 11, 1998, India stunned the world by testing three nuclear devices at Pokhran in Rajasthan.

     Print Edition: Jan 9, 2011

At 3.45 p.m. on May 11, 1998, India stunned the world by testing three nuclear devices at Pokhran in Rajasthan. A few hours later, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the tests to the world, declaring India to be a nuclear weapon state. On May 13, two more tests followed. The international community reacted strongly. A deeply-disappointed US President Bill Clinton called the tests "unjustified" and slapped economic sanctions on India.

The sanctions ended all US assistance to India, barred export of defence equipment and technology, ended all US credit and credit guarantees to India and also required the US to oppose lending by international financial institutions to India.The wheel came full circle, though, when Clinton's successor, George W. Bush, not only waived the sanctions in 2001 but also went on to negotiate and sign a US-India Civil Nuclear Co-operation agreement in 2005 with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The deal promises full civil nuclear co-operation with India.

More power reforms
Power reforms continued with the government announcing the setting up of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC). The commission's responsibility included regulating tariffs of Central government-owned power stations, and inter-state transmission of electricity besides rationalisation of electricity tariffs. The government also modified its 1995 mega power policy in a bid to give it more teeth and add 15,000 to 20,000 MW of capacity.

India Inc's quality rush
Sundaram Clayton, a TVS Group company, became the first Indian company to win the Deming Prize for total quality management. It was only the fourth non-Japanese company and the second Asian company outside Japan to bag this award, considered the equivalent of the Nobel prize for quality. It was contagious. Soon, many Indian companies began to set high quality standards. Today, around 15 Indian companies have won the Deming Prize highlighting India Inc's move up the quality chain.

Did you know?
Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company, or Telco (now Tata Motors), launched the Tata Indica, India's first fullyindigenous passenger car in 1998.

Quote of the year
Swadeshi, globaliser and liberaliser are not contradictions in terms. I personally think that globalisation is the best way of being swadeshi.
Yashwant Sinha, Union Finance Minister

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