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Pre liberalisation period

Economy of India

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Pre liberalisation period

Indian economic policy after independence was influenced by the colonial experience, which was seen by Indian leaders as exploitative, and by those leaders exposure to British social democracy as well as the planned economy of the Soviet Union. Domestic policy tended towards protectionism, with a strong emphasis on import substitution industrialisation, economic interventionism, a large government run public sector, business regulation, and central planning, while trade and foreign investment policies were relatively liberal. Five Year Plans of India resembled central planning in the Soviet Union. Steel, mining, machine tools, telecommunications, insurance, and power plants, among other industries, were effectively nationalised in the mid 1950s.

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, along with the statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, formulated and oversaw economic policy during the initial years of the country s independence. They expected favourable outcomes from their strategy, involving the rapid development of heavy industry by both public and private sectors, and based on direct and indirect state intervention, rather than the more extreme Soviet style central command system. The policy of concentrating simultaneously on capital and technology intensive heavy industry and subsidising manual, low skill cottage industries was criticised by economist Milton Friedman, who thought it would waste capital and labour, and retard the development of small manufacturers. The rate of growth of the Indian economy in the first three decades after independence was derisively referred to as the Hindu rate of growth by economists, because of the unfavourable comparison with growth rates in other Asian countries.

Since 1965, the use of high yielding varieties of seeds, increased fertilisers and improved irrigation facilities collectively contributed to the Green Revolution in India, which improved the condition of agriculture by increasing crop productivity, improving crop patterns and strengthening forward and backward linkages between agriculture and industry. However, it has also been criticised as an unsustainable effort, resulting in the growth of capitalistic farming, ignoring institutional reforms and widening income disparities.

Subsequently the Emergency and Garibi Hatao concept under which income tax levels at one point rose to a maximum of 97.5 Percent, a record in the world for non communist economies, started diluting the earlier efforts.


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Pre liberalisation period
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