Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said the trust between the government and the business community has been eroded as they have been made to feel the wrath of coercive agencies.
Addressing the 'Hindu BusinessLine Changemaker Awards' function here, he said this "hostile" atmosphere will not just sap the confidence of Indian businessmen but will also create doubts in the minds of foreign governments and businessmen.
"Of late, many negative perceptions have been manufactured about business leaders. The business community, big and small, has been made to feel the wrath of coercive agencies. A hostile narrative has been built; this will sap not only the confidence of our own business leaders it will also create doubts in the mind of foreign governments and business leaders.
"Honest businessman and genuine entrepreneur must never be allowed to feel harassed by the petty revenue officials. Unfortunately, trust between the government and the business stands eroded," the senior Congress leader said.
Singh noted that no change is permanent and the country has remained alive to the need for change and has progressed and prospered whenever "we have recognised and promoted change".
"Societies grow and progress when creativity is encouraged to challenge the status quo," he said.
The former prime minister also talked about the economic reforms that he ushered in 1991, saying "our nation faced a difficult choice then". He, however, noted that even though much had been achieved before 1991 in this land of poverty and deprivation, "but still much more had to be done -- and, done differently".
"We are a young nation but an old society. This old society reflects the strength of our ancient civilization and its traditions. Since ancient days we experienced a collective strength and confidence when we remained alive to the need for change; we progressed and prospered whenever we could recognise and promote change, and we moved forward when the society and the administration facilitated the work of the potential change-makers," he said.