ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Deepak NayyarSubscribe to Deepak Nayyar

A Remarkable Life

Dhruba Narayan Ghosh, a distinguished citizen of India, passed away on 7 November 2023, in Kolkata, at the age of 95. At the time of independence, in 1947, he was just about 19 years old. The next 75 years turned out to be a remarkable life in our times of an extraordinary person who contributed so much to the public domain in economy and society. It is sad news and an irreparable loss for his family, friends, colleagues and admirers, who span a wide spectrum of age and straddle the vast geographical spread of India. He was held in great esteem by his peers and much admired by the young. Dhruba Ghosh was a man of many parts—a superb civil servant, a distinguished corporate leader, an innovative banker, a builder of institutions, a natural leader, a scholar, a columnist—with a razor-sharp mind—and, most importantly, a concerned citizen. For me, he was a close friend for more than four decades. And I have not quite come to terms with the reality that he has left us.

The Future of Globalisation

An analysis of globalisation in a historical perspective can help us understand how the past or the present may shape the future. In so doing, this article outlines the contours of the present era of globalisation since its inception, circa 1975, to find that the successive epochs of globalisation during the second millennium came to an abrupt end because of their own consequences embedded in the process. Given this, the article seeks to focus on the present conjuncture, at the intersection of economics and politics, when globalisation is again in crisis to reflect on its future.

Renaissance Man

A tribute by a close friend and associate of Ashok Mitra reveals the academician, politician, columnist, littérateur, and the affectionate friend he was. Having an equal flair for academia and policymaking, the notable economist and inimitable columnist was also perfectly at home in the world of arts and letters

Economic Liberalisation in India

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.

Birth, Life and Death of Development Finance Institutions in India

This essay traces the evolution of development finance institutions in India from conception and birth, soon after independence, through infancy to adulthood and maturity, followed by a winding down at the turn of the century and closure in the early 2000s. It highlights their macroeconomic significance, and their critical role in the financing of industrialisation from the 1970s to the 1990s, to analyse the factors underlying their decline. Their contribution to the provision of industrial finance was essential and innovative. Yet, there were serious errors of omission, such as exclusion of infrastructure, and absence of coordination with industrial policy. Instead of introducing correctives, the government shut down development banks, which was the most serious error of commission. These successes and failures carry lessons for other countries, just as India has as much to learn, about the continuing importance of finance for investment in manufacturing from countries that have done better at industrialisation.

Globalisation and Democracy

The gathering momentum of globalisation in the world economy has coincided with the spread of political democracy across countries. Economies have become global. But politics remains national. This essay explores the relationship between globalisation and democracy, which is neither linear nor characterised by structural rigidities. It seeks to analyse how globalisation might constrain degrees of freedom for nation states and space for democratic politics, and how political democracy within countries might exercise some checks and balances on markets and globalisation. The essential argument is that the relationship between globalisation and democracy is dialectical and does not conform to ideological caricatures.

Discrimination and Justice: Beyond Affirmative Action

The theme of this essay is that affirmative action is necessary but cannot be sufficient to resolve problems of discrimination and injustice in society. It begins with the origins of discrimination in historical perspective, and explains how discrimination leads to exclusion, to show that embedded injustice is an outcome of the process. The conception of justice evolved over a long period of time that spanned centuries if not millennia. Yet, it is clear that the quest for social justice, driven by political democracy mostly through affirmative action, essentially surfaced during the second half of the 20th century. This leads into a discussion on the logic, the necessity and the limitations of affirmative action to highlight what else is needed. And a dose of reality is imparted to the story with a tale of three countries, even if the focus is on India. In conclusion, the paper draws some lessons from experience to contemplate the future.

Globalisation: What Does It Mean for Higher Education?

The retreat of the state and the advance of the market have changed the national context of higher education. The spread of markets is beginning to exercise a significant influence in this area. There are dangers inherent in such commercialisation, but there are also some opportunities of learning from markets. The gathering momentum of globalisation, which has changed the international context, is also beginning to reshape higher education. This too has important, positive and negative, implications for development. Countries should formulate policies for higher education in the pursuit of development, so as to minimise the dangers and capture the opportunities.

Economic Growth in Independent India

The story of economic development in independent India is often distorted by beliefs in fashion or caricatures of perceptions which shape conventional wisdom. This is misleading, not only in analysing the past but also in contemplating the future. If we consider India during the 20th century as a whole, the turning point in economic growth was circa 1951. If we consider India since independence, the turning point in economic growth was circa 1980. And it is clear that the turning point in the early 1950s was much more significant than the structural break in the early 1980s. In the first phase of growth in post-independent India, from 1950 to 1980, India was not the lumbering elephant that it is often made out to be. In the second phase, from 1980 to 2005, India was not quite the running tiger that some believe it has become. The real failure, throughout the second half of the 20th century, was India's inability to transform its growth into development, which would have brought about an improvement in the living conditions of ordinary people.

Tribute: Remembering Sanjaya Lall

Sanjaya Lall, the economist at Oxford, who died on June 18, was an outstanding researcher, teacher and intellectual. But, above all, he was a wonderful human being.

Economic Development and Political Democracy-Interaction of Economics and Politics in Independent India

Interaction of Economics and Politics in Independent India Introduction THERE is a vast literature on the theme of economic development in India over the past 50 years. The literature on the subject of political democracy in India since independence is just as extensive. Both are rich in terms of range and depth. But they constitute two different worlds, divided into the disciplines of economics and political science. The intersections are few and far between. This essay makes a modest attempt to reflect on the interconnections. It situates the process of economic development in the wider context of political democracy to explore the interaction between economics and politics in independent India. Section II sets out an analytical framework. It explains why markets and democracy provide no magic wand, to suggest that the real issue is the tension between the economics of markets and the politics of democracy. The problem, it argues, is compounded because markets exclude people, particularly the poor. The paper then divides the five decades into three phases, Any such periodisation is obviously arbitrary but it serves an analytical purpose. Section III examines the first phase, 1947-66, in which the strategy of development was shaped by a political consensus and characterised by a long-term perspective. The spirit of nationalism meant that there was less need to manage conflict, but there was a conscious effort to accommodate the poor even if it was long on words and short on substance. Section IV analyses the second phase, 1967-90, which witnessed a qualitative change in the interaction of economics and politics. Economic policies and economic development were strongly influenced by the compulsions of political democracy. Those with a political voice made economic claims on the state. But the process of mediation and reconciliation had long-term economic and political consequences. Section V discusses the third phase, 1991-97, characterised by an absence of consensus and a presence of short-termism, in which the economics of liberalisation and the politics of empowerment seem to be moving the economy and the polity in opposite directions. The need for conflict resolution is greater than ever before. But the task has become more difficult And, strangely enough, the effort is much less.


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