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Economic Liberalisation in India

Then and Now

Deepak Nayyar (nayyar.deepak@gmail.com) is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Pla nning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Even if adjustment and reform in 1991 were driven by economic compulsions, it was the political process that made these possible. However, liberalisation was shaped largely by the economic problems of the government rather than by the economic priorities of the people or by long-term development objectives. Thus, there were limitations in conception and design which have been subsequently validated by experience. Jobless growth, persistent poverty and rising inequality have mounted as problems since economic liberalisation began. And, 25 years later, four quiet crises confront the economy, in agriculture, infrastructure, industrialisation and education as constraints on the country’s future prospects. These problems must be resolved if economic growth has to be sustained and transformed into meaningful development. In this quest, India needs a developmental state for its market economy to improve the living conditions of her people.

[This is the second part of EPW ’s special issue “25 Years of Economic Liberalisation.” Part 1 was published in the issue dated 16 July 2016.]

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