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

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Globalisation: A Stock-Taking

The implications of globalisation for national and international policies are far-reaching and we need to refine our understanding of them. It is time to take stock of developments on the ground as also in the thinking about them.

Tired Familiarity

Manu Shroff The Indian Economy: Major Debates since Independence edited by Terence J Byres; Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1998; pp 424, Rs 575, I HAVE borrowed the title of this review from Jayati Ghosh's chapter in this book, a phrase she uses in the context of the debate surrounding the liberalisation policies of mid- 1960s on a range of issues which have reappeared since then. But, for an older person, who has lived through it all, the sense of tired familiarity pervades the entire book. This is not to detract from the merit of producing a book like this, still less from its contents. For the younger generation, it provides a useful background to the why and wherefore of the socio-economic policies and programmes even if it may not, or rather should not, prove to be a guide-post for the design and appreciation of future policies, The first three chapters of the book are written by the editor himself. They introduce the reader, especially a foreign reader, to the dramatis personae in the economics profession and the institutions they created or belonged to as also their interaction with the official economists and agencies belonging to the state, characterised by the author as "the belly of the beast". These chapters are eminently readable and capture to a great extent the atmosphere of the debates in the last 50 years.

Indian Economy at the Crossroads

DEEPAK NAYYAR ('Indian Economy at the Crossroads: Illusions and Realities', EPW, April 10, 1993) raises a number of issues about the economic policy reforms which require further discussion. Nayyar himself has, with characteristic modesty, described his lecture as providing "a modest beginning for a meaningful debate, which is essential at this critical juncture in our economy". In what follows, I propose to show that the conclusions which Nayyar has drawn do not follow from the evidence he has cited about the impact of the policy reform in India or indeed from the experience of other countries which had embarked on similar reforms. At best, Nayyar succeeds only in pointing to the risks which are inherent in any major and wide-ranging reform. He has, however, been unable to assign any probability to the prospect or failure. And yet all through the lecture there seems to be an implicit assumption that the new policies will fail. Nayyar is careful in his expression of doubt. Each individual remark is made with appropriate caveats. But the overall thrust of the argument is that the country is on the brink of disaster.

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