Policy discourse in India tends to be dominated by assertions unsupported by facts, with the media indulging one and all without proper scrutiny. Often, the result is the creation and perpetuation of myths of all kinds. Thus, many believe today that poverty, illiteracy and ill-health afflict India because its leadership ignored them in favour of growth for its own sake; that the economic reforms that focused on growth have failed to help the poor, especially the socially disadvantaged; that any gains claimed in poverty alleviation derive from the use of progressively lower poverty lines; and that even if gains have been made, with one in two children suffering from malnutrition, reforms have done precious little to improve health outcomes.
In this definitive book on economic reforms in India since Independence, Bhagwati and Panagariya decisively demolish these and other myths, which critics use as weapons to wound and maim the reforms. Using systematic data and analysis, they forcefully show that once the debris of critiques of India’s reforms is cleared, it becomes evident that intensification of reforms – that allows sustained rapid growth – is the only way to lift millions out of poverty, illiteracy and ill-health. They argue that only growth can provide sufficient revenues for the provision of education and good health for the masses.
About the Authors :
Jagdish Bhagwati is university professor of economics at Columbia University, New York, and a longtime fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in the US. He is the author of many books, among them In Defense of Globalization.
Arvind Panagariya is a professor of Indian economics at Columbia University, New York. He is a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has been the chief economist of the Asian Development Bank and a professor of economics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has also worked for the World Bank, IMF, WTO, and UNCTAD in various capacities. He has authored, among other books, India: The Emerging Giant. He was awarded a Padma Bhushan in 2012.
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