75 Years of Indian Economy | Sanjaya Baru

Sanjaya Baru, economist and political analyst, traces the nature of India’s transformation as the country celebrates 75 years of Independence.

As India celebrates 75 years of Independence, it is important to recall that as a democratic republic, it has been able to overcome the burden of colonialism and emerge as the world’s third-largest economy.

Sanjaya Baru, economist and political analyst, traces the nature of this transformation, introducing the ideas and events that have shaped economic policy, transforming a feudal, agrarian economy into a modern, industrial and services-based one. 

He introduces to a young audience of millennials the role played by the drain of wealth under British colonial rule on nationalist thinking and post-Independence policy. He explains how Indian political and intellectual leaders influenced policy with regard to agrarian relations, industrialisation and the creation of a knowledge-based economy. 

Baru offers a ringside view of the historic 1991 reform programme and its role in defining India’s development trajectory in the twenty-first century.

75 Years of Indian Economy is a part of the series Journey of a Nation. This book is written for a general audience that wishes to be informed about the nature of India’s economic transformation over the past 75 years. 

India’s economic rise as a secular, plural democracy holds great value for the entire world. The first two decades of the twenty-first century have witnessed a significant transformation of the economy. 

There was a perceptible reduction in poverty, a rapid spread of urbanisation and the establishment of a globally competent services economy. India led the world in the production of several agricultural commodities. However, the manufacturing sector remained a laggard, despite the launch of a new manufacturing strategy” by the Manmohan Singh government in 2012 that was subsequently modified and relaunched as the Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat programmes by the Narendra Modi government.

About the Speaker

Sanjaya Baru is Distinguished Fellow, United Service Institution of India (www​.usiofind​ia​.org) and Centre for Air Power Studies (https://​capsin​dia​.org/)

He has been editor of India’s major financial newspapers and was Media Advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (2004−09). He was Director for Geo-economics and Strategy, International Institute of Strategic Studies, London (2011−16); and Secretary-General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (2017−18).

Baru is Founder-Trustee, Forum for National Security Studies and was a member of India’s National Security Advisory Board (1999−2001). He was a member of the Governing Board of the Centre for Policy Research and Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore and Indian School of Public Policy, Delhi. He was a professor of economics at the University of Hyderabad and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations. 

He was also a member of India-ASEAN Eminent Persons Group, 2010. He is an Independent Director on the board of Wockhardt Ltd.

His publications include The Strategic Consequences of India’s Economic Rise (2006); India and the World: Essays on Geo-economics and Foreign Policy (2016); The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh (2014); 1991: How PV Narasimha Rao Made History (2016); Powers Shifts and Trade Blocs (Editor, 2015); The Bombay Plan: A Blueprint for Economic Resurgence (Editor, 2018); Beyond Covi’s Shadow: Mapping Indian Economy’s Resurgence (Editor, 2020); India’s Power Elite: Caste, Class and a Cultural Revolution, (Penguin Viking, 2021); The New Cold War: Henry Kissinger and the Rise of China, (HarperCollins, 2021); Journey of a Nation: 75 Years of the Economy (2022).