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G. Jagatpati

SOME PROBLEMS OF INDIA'S ECONOMIC POLICY (SECOND EDITION)
Edited by Charan D. Wadhwa
Tata McGraw Hill, Delhi, 1977, xvi plus 768, 36.00

VOLUME II NUMBER 6 November-December 1977

‘The emphasis in choosing the read­ings in this volume has been on articles using the tools of analytical economics to deal with problems which have policy implications and articles which deal directly with the appraisal of economic policies adopted by the Government of India during the years of planned economic development’, observes Charan D. Wadhwa in his preface to the first edi­tion (1973) and, in the preface to the current edition, refers to the ‘recognition given to this book as a source of reference and supplementary reading material for various courses at the gra­duate and postgraduate levels’. It appears to this reviewer that, as essential (and not supplementary) reading illus­trative of the use of the ‘tools of economic analysis’, the volume is unnecessarily large whereas, for purposes of reference and supplementary reading, it needs to cover all the ground and not only some of the areas; those covered in this volume are: Planning, Agriculture and Inter­national Economic Relations. Even judged on its own terms, one cannot help commenting that essential aspects have not been dealt with at all even in the included areas. It would be a pity, for example, if after going through this volume, it seems to a reader that the process of planning and development is purely economic and that political and social factors are nowhere near being decisive. There are references here and there to such factors but these do not add up to enough to make it clear that in the ultimate analysis planning deci­sions are political decisions and, further, that the gap between the planners’ intentions and the economy's achieve­ments is much more due to influences unrelentingly emanating from the whole cultural set-up rather than to deficiencies in the planners' models or in the data­base supporting them. Another important omission is that there is no discussion of the various possible approaches to planning. Every­body plans these days and there is a wide range of approaches from the ‘indicative’ planning of Japan at the one end to the highly centralized planning of the Soviet Union or of China, at the other. Currently we in India have chosen neither to ‘indicate’ nor to cen­tralize but to let the plan roll and see what happens. Serious readers are en­titled in a book of this size to some elucidation of these various approaches.  As much for the student ...


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