The reason why we came into being.
The Forum of Free Enterprise is a non-political and non-partisan organization, established in 1956, to educate public opinion in India on free enterprise and its close relationship with the democratic way of life. The Forum seeks to stimulate public thinking on vital economic problems of the day through booklets and leaflets, meetings, essay competitions and other means as befit a democratic society.
The circumstances under which the Forum of Free Enterprise was founded is very interesting. It is a great tribute to its founder, A.D. Shroff, who took upon himself the task of establishing the Forum under challenging circumstances.
In 1956 anti-private sector feeling was running high. Though the First Five-Year Plan had ended without delivering the visualized economic growth, the Congress Government at the center had decided to go ahead with its decision of a socialistic pattern of society for the country. The Marxist rhetoric had already become the accepted lingua of the day and the exposure of some scandals in private industrial houses had tarnished their reputation. In the emergent conflict between two blocks of superpowers, USA and USSR, despite India’s avowed neutrality, there was a more pronounced leaning towards the latter.
The then Prime Minister, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, had already embarked on the large-scale nationalization of industry – trade and transportation were already nationalized and insurance was on the verge of being nationalized. Mr. A.D. Shroff, eminent economist and the then Chairman of New India Assurance Co Limited, one of the largest and fastest growing insurance companies in the country, fought a hard and losing battle against nationalization. He argued that there were bad eggs in the business, but regulation and disciplinary action were the need of the day and not nationalization. But the government was not even listening.read more