Two Decades of Market Reform in India

Two Decades of Market Reform in India

Some Dissenting Views

Edited by Sudipta Bhattacharyya

India and Asia in the Global Economy

Anthem South Asian Studies

This edited volume of essays investigates the series of neoliberal policy reforms implemented in India between 1991 and the present day, and assesses the impact this reform agenda has had upon both the Indian economy and the country’s population. 

PDF, 276 Pages


December 2013

£20.00, $32.00

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About This Book

Have neoliberal policies truly yielded beneficial effects for India? ‘Two Decades of Market Reform in India’ presents a collection of essays that challenge the conventional wisdom of Indian market reforms, examining the effects of neoliberal policies enacted by the Indian government and exploding the myths that surround them.

The volume addresses three key areas. Firstly, it investigates how the high growth rate of the Indian economy has made it uneven, vulnerable and liable to poor employment generation and agrarian crises. The text refutes the hypothesis that growth in India has been driven by domestic factors, and argues against the notion that the Indian economy has remained unaffected by the global economic meltdown. The volume also investigates the reduced demand for food grain during the reform period, questioning whether it was indeed a result of increased income, as suggested by the government, or rather a consequence of increasing poverty and agrarian crisis. [NP]Secondly, the text counters the neoliberal myth that a fiscal deficit is essentially bad, and examines how the government’s focus on preventing a deficit caused a large-scale decline in development expenditures, which in turn had a negative impact on the well-being of the poor. Finally, the volume also argues that there is no evidence that supports denationalization as an effective way to reduce fiscal deficit, as the public sector, it argues, is not necessarily less efficient than the private sector.

Striving to hold India’s market reforms – and those responsible for their implementation – to account, ‘Two Decades of Market Reform in India’ bravely shines a light on the true implications of India’s neoliberal governmental policies. With its rich and insightful analysis, it provides a revealing indication of how policy reform since 1991 has, at times, detrimentally affected the Indian populace, and will serve as an invaluable resource for students, professionals, activists and policymakers interested in the socioeconomic future of the country. 


‘“Two Decades of Market Reform in India” provides a powerful corrective to the simplistic, celebratory views of the Indian economy that have prevailed since the country embarked on neoliberal reforms in 1991. A must-read for anyone interested in understanding the ongoing economic transformation of India and its social and political implications.’ —Jyoti Saraswati, New York University and author of ‘Dot.compradors: Power and Policy in the Development of the Indian Software Industry’

‘After more than two decades of liberalization and privatization, this is a comprehensive assessment, which helps us to understand why policies have not been a way out of underdevelopment, inequality and poverty, but actually have fortified the process of a lopsided, elite-oriented development.’ —G. K. Lieten, Professor Emeritus, University of Amsterdam

Author Information

Sudipta Bhattacharyya is Professor of Economics at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India. 


India and Asia in the Global Economy

Anthem South Asian Studies

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures; Foreword by Prabhat Patnaik; Acknowledgements; Chapter 1: Introduction: A Critical Look at Two Decades of Market Reform in India – Sudipta Bhattacharyya; Chapter 2: Development Planning and the Interventionist State versus Liberalization and the Neoliberal State: India, 1989–1996 – Terence J. Byres; Chapter 3: Predatory Growth – Amit Bhaduri; Chapter 4: On Some Currently Fashionable Propositions in Public Finance – Prabhat Patnaik; Chapter 5: The Costs of ‘Coupling’: The Global Crisis and the Indian Economy – Jayati Ghosh and C. P. Chandrasekhar; Chapter 6: Theorizing Food Security and Poverty in the Era of Economic Reforms – Utsa Patnaik; Chapter 7: Globalization, the Middle Class and the Transformation of the Indian State in the New Economy – Anthony P. D’Costa; Chapter 8: The World Trade Organization and its Impact on India – Parthapratim Pal; Chapter 9: The Changing Employment Scenario during Market Reform and the Feminization of Distress in India – Sudipta Bhattacharyya and Uma Basak; Chapter 10: Privatization and Deregulation – Ashok Rudra; Chapter 11: Macroeconomic Impact of Public Sector Enterprises: Some Further Evidence – R. Nagaraj; Chapter 12: Liberalization, Demand and Indian Industrialization – Surajit Mazumdar; Chapter 13: On Fiscal Deficit, Interest Rate and Crowding-Out – Surajit Das; Chapter 14: Going, Going, But Not Yet Quite Gone: The Political Economy of the Indian Intermediate Classes during the Era of Liberalization – Matthew McCartney; Contributors 


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