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Private Sector: How it Grew

Kamal Nayan Kabra

By Rajat K. Ray
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1979, pp. 384 xi, Rs. 80.00

VOLUME IV NUMBER 2 September/October 1979

One of the notable features of the developments in India during the colo­nial period was that despite what may be called perpetuation of her underdevelop­ment and her structural retrogression. ‘India had a larger industrial sector, with a stronger element of indigenous enter­prise, than most underdeveloped countries of the world’. The present work seems to set for itself the task of analysing the conflict-ridden process of growth of pri­vate corporate sector­—the main orga­nizational form, assumed by Indian, like most capitalist processes, of industrial development—in order to offer some explanations for ‘the overall failure of that sector to transform the economy from a predominantly agricultural to a predominantly industrial one’. Apart from bringing out the actual details of the process of industrial deve­lopment and the growth of corporate business from many primary and secon­dary sources, the book also attempts to analyse various theories and explanations which have been put forth for the pur­pose. It has also attempted to place the actual behaviour of private investment in the framework of some theoretical for­mulations as well as in the context of overall environment of industrial growth. The story of the growth of corporate enterprise and industrial evolution is detailed in terms of the relationship of conflict and cooperation obtaining from time to time between its indigenous and alien elements. Two other levels at which a conflict-cooperation relationship obtain­ing in the course of these processes is dis­cussed in the present work are the intra­-class conflicts (between major business houses as well as between what have come to be known as Bombay and Calcutta business groups) and the conflict between imperial-colonial interests of the British and the interests of Indian corporate sector. These conflicts are real, palpable and significant. Very many legal, political, social and technical processes acted as mediating mechanisms in the process of the collision of these interests and the outcomes and realignments generated through their interaction left their imprint on the nature and tempo of India's multi­faceted transformation during the period of study, 1914-1947. Such a review has natu­rally to bring in political develop-ments and their ideological bases into the picture. It may not be out of place to indicate some of the major features of the growth of corporate sector in India during 1914­-1947. The rate of industrial growth in India during 1913-38 was 5.6 per cent ...

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