Anurag Jain's Blog
Saturday, April 03, 2004

Indian economic success driver: 80s or 90s?

Its a common perception/knowledge that India started its reforms in 1991. One such recent paper (Feb '04) is by Dani Rodrik (Harvard) and Arvind Subramanian (IMF). Even though acknowledged in their paper as one who provided useful feedback, the renowned (and usually leftist) economist Swaminathan Aiyer in some recent articles in The Economic Times (1, 2) is contesting some of the authors' claims by saying that it (reforms) all 'really' started in 1980s. (And he's not alone in arguing for the importance of 80s' reforms. There's an increasing body of work that talks about this issue vocally.)

This debate's answer is not so much of political importance (which government claims the credit for economic reforms/success), but that of economic one: what economic reforms models worked for Indian business and freed them from shackles so as to lead to today's success.

What are your views on this topic? Do you think that the 1991 crisis is solely responsible for the economic reforms and Indian business' success or is there much background (80s) to the same?

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