The twenty-month period between August 1990 and March 1992 has been one of the most momentous periods in India's economy since independence. In August 1999, India's fragile economy was plunged into a deep crisis by the adverse Impact of the conflict in the Gulf. For the next ten months, the economy was teetering on the brink of a collapse as the country passed through two changes of government, a general election and several other traumatic events. Then in July 1991, the picture changed dramatically. A series of new policy measures was announced with a view to restoring confidence. The budget of the new government marked the beginning of a process of liberalization and fiscal correction, which was carried through, in the second budget presented at the end of February 1992. By that time, the foreign exchange crisis was over and international reserves were rising.
This, however, is not the end of the story. The overall economic situation remains difficult. The country is in the midst of an intense debate about the directions that the economy is taking and the likely impact of current policies on India's economic future. The essays brought together in this volume are a modest contribution to this debate. They cover both the short-term and the long-term aspects and attempt to answer the questions that many of us are asking; where is India today and where should it go from here? The attempt is to take a look at the current economic crisis in a longer-term historical perspective. Such a perspective is essential for understanding the origins and the causes of the crisis as well as its possible solutions.
Review - Reproduced from the book's back page
The economic crisis of 1990 and 1991 has given rise to an intense debate about India's economy. India responded to the crisis by initiating far-reaching policy reforms. The full implications of these reforms are yet to unfold, and much more remains to be done.
In this volume, sixteen of India's most eminent economic thinkers, several of whom are actively engaged in policy formulation, attempt to provide answers to the questions that people are asking about India's present problems and its economic future. The essays include an authoritative assessment of India's performance since independence and a comprehensive examination of its policies in industry, agriculture, finance and trade. Other essays in the volume deal with a variety of key economic issues or immediate importance, such as, public debt, government expenditure, energy, population and unemployment. The last two essays are concerned with political, institutional and legal aspects of economic reforms.
Edited and introduced by Bimal jalan, one of India's top economic advisers, these essays will help the reader to understand India's past and to consider policy options for the future. All the essays are original, and are accessible to general as well as specialist readers in different disciplines