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Ambitious But Imperfect Anthology on the Indian Economy

Economic Development of India (Critical Concepts in Economics) edited by Pulin B Nayak, 4 volumes, London and New York: Routledge, 2015; pp xxiii + 473, £ 900.

For long, in colleges and universities, lectures on the Indian economy have been saturated with data without any theory. Not surprisingly, students showed little interest in the Indian economy classes. The ability to memorise numbers was deemed both the necessary and sufficient condition to do well in the examination. Consequently, a widely prevalent notion was that “Indian Economics” (a phrase still in use when this reviewer was a student) should be assigned to teachers who were either inexperienced or who could not teach economic theory.

The 1991 reforms brought about a healthy change in pedagogy. With the popularisation of terms like liberalisation, deregulation and globalisation, several teachers have been attempting to shift the focus from merely reciting data to debating ideas and they are now increasingly nudging students to read policy documents, journal papers and monographs instead of just textbooks. Anthologies like the one edited by Pulin Nayak will go a long way to back up the efforts of these teachers.

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