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.
|Morarji Desai ministry|
7th Ministry of the Republic of India
|Date formed||24 March 1977|
|Date dissolved||28 July 1979|
|People and organisations|
|Head of state||Basappa Danappa Jatti (Acting)|
(until 25 July 1977)
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (from 25 July 1977)
|Head of government||Morarji Desai|
|Member party||Janata Party (Janata alliance)|
|Status in legislature||Majority|
|Opposition party||Indian National Congress (Congress Alliance)|
|Opposition leader||Yashwantrao Chavan|
(1 July 1977 – 11 April 1978)
C. M. Stephen (12 April 1978 – 9 July 1979)
Yashwantrao Chavan (from 10 July 1979)
|Legislature term(s)||2 years, 4 months and 4 days|
|Predecessor||Second Indira Gandhi ministry|
|Successor||Charan Singh ministry|
Emergency and election victory
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. 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. The widespread unpopularity of Emergency rule gave Janata and its allied a landslide victory in the election.
|Portfolio||Minister||Took office||Left office||Party|
|Prime Minister||Morarji Desai||24 March 1977||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Deputy Prime Minister||Charan Singh||24 January 1979||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Deputy Prime Minister||Jagjivan Ram||24 January 1979||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Minister of Finance||Hirubhai M. Patel||24 March 1977||24 January 1979||Janata Party|
|Charan Singh||24 January 1979||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Minister of Home Affairs||Charan Singh||24 March 1977||1 July 1978||Janata Party|
|Morarji Desai||1 July 1978||24 January 1979||Janata Party|
|Hirubhai M. Patel||24 January 1979||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Minister of Defence||Jagjivan Ram||24 March 1977||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Minister of External Affairs||Atal Bihari Vajpayee||24 March 1977||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Minister of Information and Broadcasting||Lal Krishna Advani||24 March 1977||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Minister of Industry||George Fernandes||24 March 1977||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Minister of Agriculture||Parkash Singh Badal||24 March 1977||20 June 1977||Akali Dal|
|Surjit Singh Barnala||20 June 1977||28 July 1979||Akali Dal|
|Minister of Works and Housing and Supply and Rehabilitation||Sikandar Bakht||24 March 1977||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
|Minister for Energy||P.Ramachandran||24 March 1977||28 July 1979||Janata Party|
- Pratap Chandra Chunder – Minister of Education
- Shanti Bhushan – Minister of Law and Justice
- Brij Lal Verma – Minister of Communications
- Madhu Dandavate – Minister of the Railways
- Raj Narain – Minister of Health
- Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna – Minister of Petroleum
- Ravindra Varma – Minister of Labour and Parliamentary affairs
- Mohan Dharia – Minister of Commerce
- Biju Patnaik
- Purushottam Kaushik
Rabi Ray was inducted in January 1979 to fill in the vacancy caused by Raj Narain's exit.
Ministers of state
- Abha Maiti
- Satish Chandra Agrawal
- Krishana Kumar Goyal
- Jagadambi Prasad Yadav
- Renuka Devi Barkataki
- Arif Beg
- Ishaq Jamkhanawala
Reversal of Emergency decrees
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. 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. 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. The Minister of Railways reinstated the railway employees disciplined after the May 1974 strike. 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. Both Indira and her son Sanjay were charged with allegations of corruption and briefly arrested.
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. 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. 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.
- Kuldip Singh (11 April 1995). "OBITUARY: Morarji Desai". The Independent. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
- "The Rise of Indira Gandhi". Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
- G. G. Mirchandani (2003). 320 Million Judges. Abhinav Publications. pp. 90–100. ISBN 81-7017-061-3.
- "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.
- 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)
- G. G. Mirchandani (2003). 320 Million Judges. Abhinav Publications. pp. 176–191. ISBN 81-7017-061-3.
- 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)
- "A Look Back to 1978 When Currency Notes Were Last Scrapped". Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "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.