Indian Economy since Independence
Persisting Colonial Disruption
Indian Economy since Independence : Arun Kumar : Vision Books : Book (ISBN: 8170949068)
Price: Rs. 799
ISBN13/10: 9788170949060 / 8170949068
Published in 2014
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Table of Contents
This book presents a historical and political
survey of India's economic development since independence. It analyses the
post-independence developments in the context of the preceding British rule. It
is argued that the major economic and other problems of post-independence India
have their roots in the disruption of Indian society caused by colonisation. The
country’s persisting poverty, illiteracy, and general backward-ness can be
traced to the poor quality of political leadership because of its elitist roots,
low investment due to the drain of the surplus, and the Indian society’s loss of
value for original and relevant ideas and knowledge.
The gap between the elite and people at large persists till today
leading to a weak leadership, endemic corruption, policy failure and poor
governance. Thus, for example, India remains trapped in a one-way globalisation,
mindlessly copying irrelevant solutions from the West. Then, too, material
progress since independence has been largely concentrated in the "modern"
sectors, dictated largely by the stage of the world economy. Two separate
circles of development got created, the rapidly developing modern one
uncomfortably co-existing with the marginalised and crisis-ridden traditional
This is a magisterial, seminal work on independent India’s
economy by a renowned economist. It stands out because it probes various aspects
of the Indian society in a holistic manner. Further, it integrates issues
ignored by most analysts, such as the environment, the marginalised, sectoral
imbalances, poor infrastructure, fiscal crisis, monetary policy difficulties,
persisting under-employment, growing regional disparities, trade imbalances, the
continuity with the pre-independence period, international developments, the
role of knowledge generation through education and science and technology, and
the hierarchy of policies, all of which are germane to an understanding of the
progress and hiatus in India’s economy since independence.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the Indian economy has
achieved much in the period. The point, however, is that it is too little
compared to what was needed to be achieved and that the nation is headed in the
wrong direction, highlighting the disjuncture between the short run and the long
run — a running theme in the book. The approach adopted in the book leads to
newer questions and answers.
does India remain poor and backward?
This book paints on a wide canvas seeking answers to a host of
questions and issues about India’s development since independence, including:
persisting poverty due to a lack of resources or a result of following
poverty the poverty of mind?
growth alone take care of poverty, irrespective of distribution of
Why and how are economics and politics intertwined and inseparable?
Why has India's leadership deteriorated rapidly after independence?
are the implications of
India's ruling elite having little value for ideas?
Why does copying from the West result in non-solutions?
Do disruption in society and black economy reinforce each other?
Why has globalisation been a one-way street for the last 250 years?
Why does current globalisation benefit only the elite?
Is the faster growth of the Indian economy from 1980 the result of
sectoral and compositional changes or is it just due to opening up?
Is the "growth at any cost" strategy unstable given its dependence on
the impulses of a small elite class?
Has indiscriminate adoption of technology hurt society and environment?
How consumption has turned into consumerism.
How the financial system both facilitates investment and leads to
What is the nature of India's fiscal problems?
scope and method, (this book) is an enquiry into social history of a kind,
broadly conceived, of contemporary Indian economy in the mirror image of
'colonial disruption'. The wide-ranging nature of the work cannot be missed . .
. . The question under investigation is: Why has India failed to realize its
basic transformative agenda in six decades of freedom?
avoids the stock-in-trade framework of state versus market . . . . Instead, the
author traces the essential phenomenon of dichotomous development to colonial
disruption . . . . Disruption is to be seen in broader terms than dichotomous
growth. In addition to all-round economic stagnation it connotes a decay of
democracy, cultural cynicism or what the author calls 'poverty of the mind'.
". . . the
book dissects virtually every aspect and sector of the Indian economy since
independence. Arun Kumar’s book fascinates as a study of the contemporary Indian
economy through a historical triangulation of colonialism, elites and
— G. Omkarnath, Professor of Economics, University of Hyderabad
"A serious work . . . makes us re-think our assumptions." — Mani Shankar Aiyar
"Raises diverse and fundamental questions . . . . It is a tour de force of insights, a panoptic view, and a documentary of the ingredients behind the underlying processes of change that are dominating the Indian landscape today." — Errol D'Souza, Professor of Economics, IIM, Ahmedabad in Vikalpa
Arun Kumar is currently the Sukhamoy Chakravarti Chair Professor
in the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal
University. He has been teaching Economics in this Centre since 1984. He has a Ph.D. in
Economics and a Masters degree in Physics.
earlier book The Black Economy in
(Penguin, India), broke new ground in thinking about the Indian economy. He has specialized in
Development, Public Finance and Public Policy and Macroeconomics. He has edited
a book titled Challenges Facing Indian Universities and has published
extensively on public finance, problems of higher education in India, globalisation and the global economic crisis set in motion in 2008.
authored the Alternative Budgets for 1993-94 and 1994-95 which proposed
alternative economic policies for India. These were presented before a citizen's parliament consisting of some
eminent citizens of the country. He has been a member of the Group producing the
Alternative Economic Survey for the last fifteen years. These documents provide
an alternative analysis of the official data. He has also been associated with
movements such as Right to Housing and against corruption.
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