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Neo-liberal Reforms and Growth Fundamentalism

Sona Mitra

Edited by Parimala V. Rao
Orient Blackswan, Delhi, 2011, pp. 468, Rs. 445.00


Economic Reforms and Growth in India is a collection of articles from the Economic and Political Weekly on the Indian growth trajectory in the post-liberalization period. The articles are spread between the years 2004 to 2010 focussing mainly on those article written in the later stages of the economic reforms. The introduction to the book by Balakrishnan offers an overview to the five sections in which the book has been divided, and provides a rationalization for the compilation. The first two sections provide an overall review of growth performance since falling out of the dirigiste regime. While the first section gives a historical overview of the growth pattern since 1950 till the recent past attempting to describe the Indian growth process, the second section delves more into econometric exercises to break the growth trajectory into structures and explain the phases of growth. The third section dwells upon the sectoral growth patterns emphasizing mainly on the industrial and trade patterns. The fourth section has articles on the State level and regional aspects of growth in India and the last small section has three articles on the political economy of Indian growth. In the first section the articles ‘Economic Growth in Independent India:Lumbering Elephant or Running Tiger?’ by Deepak Nayyar  (2006) and ‘Growth Record of the Indian Economy, 1950–2008: A Story of Sustained Savings and Investment’ by Rakesh Mohan (2008) give a long term overview of the growth process in India since the fifties; ‘Growth and Reforms during 1980s and 1990s’ by Arvind Panagariya  (2004) and ‘Politics of Economic Growth in India, 1980–2005; ‘Politics of Economic Growth in India: The 1990s and Beyond’ by Atul Kohli (2006) compare the growth in the pre and post-reforms era since the 1980s. While the first two articles provide long term trends of growth in India based on the performance of the broad macroeconomic indicators such as the GDP, PCGDP, savings and investments, and the performance of the fiscal indicators. Kohli and Panagariya’s articles argue on the time frame of the acceleration of the growth process. While Panagariya argues that it was the reforms post 1991 which solely initiated the growth process in India, Kohli sticks to his point that the departure from low growth had already taken place prior to 1991 and that reforms did not have any role in initiating the process, it only accelerated it. ‘Why Did the Elephant Start to Trot? India’s Growth Acceleration Re-examined’ by Kunal Sen (2007) is the ...

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