30 years of India’s economics reforms: Mercatus Centre starts ‘The 1991 Project’

Mercatus Centre at George Mason University has started ‘The 1991 Project‘, on the 30 years of India’s reforms:

On July 24, 1991, amid economic crisis and political turmoil, a budget speech changed the course of Indian history.

After decades of socialist planning, India’s finance minister Manmohan Singh announced the country would embrace markets. It was a change that would lift a quarter of a billion people out of poverty in the decades that followed, and leave no part of Indians’ lives untouched.

Yet three-fifths of all Indians have been born since 1991. Having not experienced the crisis, nor the socialist regime that preceded it, they are unfamiliar with the dramatic impact of the 1991 liberalization and the lessons it holds for India’s future. On its 30th anniversary, we seek to revive the ideas and policies that can continue to foster economic growth in India.

Shruti Rajagopalan in the lead essay gives her perspective on the importance of reforms. In the end, she describes ‘The1991Project’:

The 1991 Project is an effort to kickstart a discourse on economic growth-centered reforms in India by focusing on economic ideas. In the coming months, our team will publish essays, data visualizations, oral histories, podcasts, and policy papers demystifying the Indian economy.

The project hopes to raise and answer many questions. Why does economic growth matter? How did socialist planning impoverish India? If socialism was so bad, why did India adopt it as an economic model? How did India switch from a command-and-control to a market economy? What is the political economy of institutional persistence and change? How can India achieve high rates of economic growth once again?

We, the contributors to the 1991 project, will discuss the Indian economy and life under socialism and after liberalization. We will cover the salient economic ideas over the past century and their impact on Indian policy. We will tell the stories of the madmen, and academic scribblers, and intellectuals, and technocrats who reformed India. We will discuss the way forward for India to strengthen institutions that can support a market economy. And most importantly, we will discuss policies that can enable economic growth.

 

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