Vinod Rai served as the eleventh comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India. He is credited with some scathing audit reports on the allocation of spectrum (2G) and coal blocks, and inefficiencies in the preparation of the XIX Commonwealth Games. He is presently a distinguished visiting research fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies in the National University of Singapore and a trustee on the IFRS Foundation Board. He has been entrusted by the Supreme Court of India with the mandate to put in place a credible and transparent management structure in the Board for Control of Cricket in India. His autobiographical account Not Just an Accountant is a widely acclaimed book.
Amitendu Palit is senior research fellow and research lead (trade and economic policy) at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) in the National University of Singapore (NUS). An economist working on trade policies, regional developments, China-India relations and political economy, he is a columnist for Financial Express and a regular contributor for various global media. His books include The Trans Pacific Partnership, China and India, China-India Economics and Special Economic Zones in India. He appears as an expert on the BBC, Bloomberg, Channel News Asia, CNBC, Doordarshan (India) and All-India Radio.
Has democracy in India fulfilled the aspirations of its people? Have institutions delivered? Have public policies succeeded in making substantial differences to living standards? Is the country secure on its external borders? Would the country become an economic powerhouse? And can India be a leading power in the years ahead?
All these and many more questions loom large as India completes seven decades of independence. Major challenges persist on the economic front and in providing adequate and quality healthcare, education, food, sanitation and drinking water. Regulatory preoccupations persist as policymakers continue to search for optimal solutions. The task is made harder by a socio-political environment shaped by various complexities. These include an expanding young workforce, a demanding citizenry, intense social media campaigns and a difficult neighbourhood.
Seven Decades of Independent India, edited by Vinod Rai and Amitendu Palit, reflects on the India of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, by gathering rare and candid insights from some of the most distinguished experts, practitioners and scholars on India. These include D. Subbarao, ex-governor of RBI; Rajiv Kumar, vice-chairman of NITI Aayog; S.Y. Quraishi, former chief election commissioner; Shivshankar Menon, former national security adviser; Ashok Gulati, professor ICRIER and former chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; Sumit Ganguly, professor of political science, Indiana University; A.K. Shiva Kumar, director, International Centre for Human Development; Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India; Tan Tai Yong, president and professor (humanities) Yale-NUS College, Singapore; Dipankar Gupta, sociologist and former professor, JNU; Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India and many others.