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HomePageTurnerAfterwordFormer RBI governor's six secrets to unshackling India's economy

Former RBI governor’s six secrets to unshackling India’s economy

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Instead of sweeping reforms, Bimal Jalan advocates smaller changes that will strengthen governmental institutions

With a Purchasing Power Parity-adjusted gross domestic product of $9 trillion, India currently represents the world’s third largest economy. But despite its staggering success in recent decades, economists often say that bottlenecks and policymakers’ lackadaisical adaptation to international trends have hampered India’s growth.

In his new book India: Priorities for the Future, former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan advocates six policies to unleash India’s economic potential. These include reforms in anti-defection laws, dissolution of development and anti-poverty programmes from the centre to the states, restoring Parliament’s relevance, and depoliticizing the bureaucracy. Additionally, Jalan suggests that ridding India of illiteracy—particularly female illiteracy—could help citizens demand greater accountability from their elected leaders.

Instead of sweeping reforms, Jalan advocates smaller changes that will strengthen governmental institutions. For instance, he suggests abolishing voice votes in parliament and requiring that standing committees consider all assigned budgets and finance bills. He also calls for lessening ministers and politicians’ control over personnel decisions within the bureaucracy, and removing constitutional protections that prevent civil servants from being held accountable.

Though many turn to books by former government officials for insider stories and salacious anecdotes, Jalan criticizes politicians and India’s policy ecosystem without name-calling. By contextualizing policy decisions with ample discussion of history, Jalan’s resulting cocktail mixes popular writing and academic rigour into a crash course in India’s economic development suitable for a wide variety of readers.

India: Priorities for the Future by Bimal Jalan has been published by Penguin Random House India

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