Premiership of Morarji Desai

  (Redirected from Morarji Desai Ministry)

The premiership of Morarji Desai extended from 24 March 1977 to 15 July 1979. In the 1977 Indian general election Morarji Desai led the Janata Party to victory against the Congress party. Upon taking office, Morarji Desai became the first Indian Prime Minister not belonging to the Congress party.[1]

Morarji Desai ministry
Flag of India.svg
7th Ministry of the Republic of India
Morarji Desai 1978.jpg
Date formed24 March 1977 (1977-03-24)
Date dissolved28 July 1979 (1979-07-28)
People and organisations
Head of stateBasappa Danappa Jatti (Acting)
(until 25 July 1977)
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (from 25 July 1977)
Head of governmentMorarji Desai
Member partyJanata Party (Janata alliance)
Status in legislatureMajority
Opposition partyIndian National Congress (Congress Alliance)
Opposition leaderYashwantrao Chavan
(1 July 1977 – 11 April 1978)
C. M. Stephen (12 April 1978 – 9 July 1979)
Yashwantrao Chavan (from 10 July 1979)
Outgoing election1980
Legislature term(s)2 years, 4 months and 4 days
PredecessorSecond Indira Gandhi ministry
SuccessorCharan Singh ministry

Emergency and election victoryEdit

The Janata Party was formed by political leaders and activists of various political parties who had been united in opposing the state of emergency imposed in 1975 by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.[1][2] After elections were called in 1977, the Janata Party was formed from the union of the Congress (O), Swatantra Party, Socialist Party of India, Bharatiya Jana Sangh and the Lok Dal. Congress defector Jagjivan Ram, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna & Nandini Satpathy formed the Congress for Democracy and joined the Janata alliance.[3] The widespread unpopularity of Emergency rule gave Janata and its allied a landslide victory in the election.

Cabinet ministersEdit

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Prime Minister Morarji Desai24 March 197728 July 1979JP
Deputy Prime Minister Charan Singh24 January 197928 July 1979JP
Deputy Prime Minister Jagjivan Ram24 January 197928 July 1979JP
Minister of Finance Hirubhai M. Patel24 March 197724 January 1979JP
 Charan Singh24 January 197928 July 1979JP
Minister of Home Affairs Charan Singh24 March 19771 July 1978JP
 Morarji Desai1 July 197824 January 1979JP
 Hirubhai M. Patel24 January 197928 July 1979JP
Minister of Defence Jagjivan Ram24 March 197728 July 1979JP
Minister of External Affairs Atal Bihari Vajpayee24 March 197728 July 1979JP
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Lal Krishna Advani24 March 197728 July 1979JP
Minister of Industry George Fernandes24 March 197728 July 1979JP
Minister of Agriculture Parkash Singh Badal24 March 197720 June 1977Akali Dal
 Surjit Singh Barnala20 June 197728 July 1979Akali Dal
Minister of Works and Housing and Supply and Rehabilitation Sikandar Bakht24 March 197728 July 1979JP
Minister for Energy P. Ramachandran24 March 197728 July 1979JP

Rabi Ray was inducted in January 1979 to fill in the vacancy caused by Raj Narain's exit.

Ministers of stateEdit

Reversal of Emergency decreesEdit

The first actions taken by the Desai government were to formally end the state of emergency and media censorship and repeal the controversial executive decrees issued during the Emergency.[1][2][5][6] The Constitution was amended to make it more difficult for any future government to declare a state of emergency; fundamental freedoms and the independence of India's judiciary was reaffirmed.[5][6] The new government also proceeded to withdraw all charges against the 25 accused in the Baroda dynamite case, which included the new Minister of Industry, George Fernandes.[6] The Minister of Railways reinstated the railway employees disciplined after the May 1974 strike.[6] The Desai government proceeded to establish inquiry commissions and tribunals to investigate allegations of corruption and human rights abuses by members of Indira Gandhi's government, political party and the police forces. Specific inquiries were instituted on Sanjay Gandhi's management of the state-owned Maruti Udyog Ltd., the activities of the former Minister of Defence Bansi Lal and the 1971 Nagarwala scandal.[6] Both Indira and her son Sanjay were charged with allegations of corruption and briefly arrested.

Economic policyEdit

The Janata government had lesser success in achieving economic reforms. It launched the Sixth Five-Year Plan, aiming to boost agricultural production and rural industries. Seeking to promote economic self-reliance and indigenous industries, the government required multi-national corporations to go into partnership with Indian corporations. The policy proved controversial, diminishing foreign investment and led to the high-profile exit of corporations such as Coca-Cola and IBM from India.[7] But the government was unable to address the issues of resurging inflation, fuel shortages, unemployment and poverty. The legalisation of strikes and re-empowerment of trade unions affected business efficiency and economic production.

The Janata government tried to curb forgery and black money in India by demonetising notes of 1000, 5000 and 10000 Rupees on 16 January 1978.[8] Many decades later, in November 2016, Modi government decided to demonetise 500 and 1000 rupee notes in an effort to stop the counterfeiting of the current banknotes alleged to be used for funding terrorism in India and for cracking down on black money in the country.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Kuldip Singh (11 April 1995). "OBITUARY: Morarji Desai". The Independent. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b "The Rise of Indira Gandhi". Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  3. ^ G. G. Mirchandani (2003). 320 Million Judges. Abhinav Publications. pp. 90–100. ISBN 81-7017-061-3.
  4. ^ "Morarji, Charan Singh waited for each other to die: Book". The Indian Express. 11 November 2008. Archived from the original on 15 December 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  5. ^ a b Paul R. Brass (1994). The Politics of India Since Independence. Cambridge University Press. pp. 40–50. ISBN 978-0-521-45970-9.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b c d e G. G. Mirchandani (2003). 320 Million Judges. Abhinav Publications. pp. 176–191. ISBN 81-7017-061-3.
  7. ^ Shashi Tharoor (2006). India: From Midnight To Millennium. Arcade Publishing. pp. 164–66. ISBN 978-1-55970-803-6.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. ^ "A Look Back to 1978 When Currency Notes Were Last Scrapped". Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Here is what PM Modi said about the new Rs 500, Rs 2000 notes and black money". India Today. 8 November 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.