The objective of the course is to familiarise the student with key features of the Indian economy in a comparative perspective. The course is especially useful to those with a deep interest in India and its future and with an acute need to understand the historical basis of many of the current developments both reactive and strategic.

The Indian economy has the potential to grow rapidly, but it is not clear that it will be able to make its economic transition.  Despite the economic reforms of 1991-92 and thereafter, its growth especially of manufacturing remains problematic. Today it stands at a cross roads wherein the social and governance issues would need resolution for it to successfully transform. Weaknesses of the state, and the limitations of a reactive rather than strategic approach to economic transformation are problems in India. The contrast with the  East Asian systems, despite the country having much potential are the core problems.


This course outlines the development of the economy to date, contrasting the experience with that of East Asia, and in the process develops core the ideas of late industrialization, export led growth, laissez faire, the institutional aspect development, political and social development, that are helpful to understand the experiences of countries today. The course by first presenting the empirical reality builds the foundation to think through and understand current developments.

The reforms of the Indian economy initiated by the Narashima Rao government fostered dramatic change and bringing forth a major role for markets and enhancing the growth rates. However they were not sustained over the longer term since inter alia the second generation reforms in the more difficult aspects covering subsidies, infrastructure regulation, land, social policies, education and public health have proven difficult for Indian policy makers. Today the frustration with the economic prospects, and poor delivery of public services, opens the doors to both an enchantment with autocracy, and am impatience with key institutions of democracy.

A comparative perspective is adopted whenever necessary, with East Asian countries including China being the reference, given their unambiguous march to success, and their similar structural endowments.  The core differences and similarities especially with regard to trade, agriculture, industry and technology would be covered.

The course would in some detail trace the developments since the reforms of 1991-92, 1992-93 and the colonial and early post-independence developments would provide the backdrop. The course besides bringing out the current issues and challenges in policy, provides a background to the reform process and also develops minimally some of core concepts in development economics, political science and sociology.