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

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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.

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