The Politics of Poverty: Planning India's Development

Overview

Dr D. K. Rangnekar was a leading public intellectual noted for his editorship at the Economic Times and later the Business Standard. This collection brings together a careful selection of his writings that are organized across four themes: social and political dimensions of development, international context to India's experiment, planning and budgets, and industrial and economic policy. The writings begin in the early 1960s and end in 1984-at the cusp when India's economic policies and political fabric were ...

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Overview

Dr D. K. Rangnekar was a leading public intellectual noted for his editorship at the Economic Times and later the Business Standard. This collection brings together a careful selection of his writings that are organized across four themes: social and political dimensions of development, international context to India's experiment, planning and budgets, and industrial and economic policy. The writings begin in the early 1960s and end in 1984-at the cusp when India's economic policies and political fabric were being radically transformed-thus, providing an important handbook of the times. Dr Rangnekar often placed India's unique experiment in an international context, revealing his critical allegiances to the 'dependency' school. Apart from a commentary on PL480 and the accompanying devaluation, the collection also includes reflections on the 1970s call for a New International Economic Order and the problems of development in an unequal world. Given his well-known areas of expertise in planning, budgets (what he characteristically called the 'annual Indian rope- trick'), and black money, the collection includes his commentary on the transition from Nehruism and planned development, to the genesis of the contemporary marvel of India's economic performance. Evident here are prescient observations on the need for changes to industrial policy and gentle reminders to the social perils of an 'export-led strategy'.

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Editorial Reviews

Frontline
An easy read on the crucial economic and political issues of the first three and a half decades after Independence. Rangnekar’s writings communicate the feelings of one for whom these were of more than professional interest: he had a passionate personal involvement in national issues…. Recommend the volume to those who are searching for explanations for the paradoxes of our time.
Business India

[The book] gives the reader a rare insight into the man he [Ranganekar] was, with essays by T.N. Ninan, Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Sanjay Baru...Rangnekar’s balanced perspective, long-term vision and discourse on issues that are as alive today as they were then, make the essays in the book a must read.
Businessworld
[A] lucid, in-your-face analysis of the economy…full of strong comments and prophetic inferences. Rangnekar wrote for the layman, and that explains the simplicity of his arguments. He made economics, often called the dismal science; cheerful and refreshing….There is an interesting foreword by T.N. Ninan, and an equally fascinating introduction by Pratap Bhanu Mehta. Neatly edited and indexed, the book succeeds in unravelling the genius of D N Rangnekar. It should be read by everyone interested in Indian economy, especially business journalists.
Business Standard

A delight for a researcher who gets in one place all thought processes and critiques on issues that were held sacrosanct for around three decades.... on the whole, the book is likely to appeal more to those who have lived through both the pre and post- reform eras, when we swung from mixed to an open economic system...but when he talks of public poliy, poverty and inequality, it rings a bell even today. In that sense, this book is timely and helps evoke introspection.
Business World
Neatly edited and indexed, the book succeeds in unravelling the genius of D.N. Ranganekar. It should be read by everyone interested in Indian economy, especially business journalists.
31 May 2013 Frontline

An easy read on crucial economic and political issues for the first three and a half decades after independence...the volume is for those who are searching for explanations for the paradoxes of our time.

The Tribune

An elaborate study at the country’s economy by dwelling upon issues both at the micro and macro level...a candid attempt to address the cause of the common man.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9788132109020
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 10/18/2012
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

D. K. Rangnekar (1931–84), an economist, author and futurologist, was a student of the Bombay University later proceeding to Cambridge University for his Tripos and then the London School of Economics for his PhD in Economics as a Tata Fellow. Though trained as an economist, he soon moved into journalism with an initial stint at Ceylon Daily News in Colombo and later in 1963 as Resident Editor of The Economic Times. He swiftly took over as the Editor of the paper and steered it till January 1979. He then proceeded to be the Editor of Business Standard till his early demise in 1984. While most of his writings are in these two economic dailies, he did write widely. This includes magazines and journals like Seminar, Economic and Political Weekly, Mainstream and the Illustrated Weekly of India and international magazines, like Time. Separately he also authored a couple of books, such as Poverty and Capital Development in India (Royal Institute of International Affairs), India Britain and ECM and pamphlets, such as Bokaro: A Story of Bungling (self-published, 1963).

In his time he served on a number of government-appointed committees like the National Council for Science and Technology’s Futurology Panel and the Export Strategy Committee (the Tandon Committee), among others. Not bound by doctrinaire ideology or party-politics, his contributions to these committees were known for their critical independence, which in some instances took the form of a ‘Note of Dissent’. His prescient observations can be gauged by the fact that it was in the 1970s and early 1980s that he wrote about India’s need to de-license to create competitiveness and to exploit the opportunities of a knowledge economy hub, in addition to a number of other relevant observations.

His scholarship and leadership on such issues led to wider recognition, including a nomination amongst Time magazines’ 500 global leaders in the late 1970s. His broad spectrum of interests and activities also included films (he actively participated in the National Film Development Corporation) and music (he was an early member of the first Jazz Yatra). Preoccupation and interests like these, among others, led to his unique stamp on the shape and coverage of the two economic dailies he edited where cultural and political issues got adequate space.

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Table of Contents

Foreword T. N. Ninan vii

Preface and Acknowledgements Dwijen Rangnekar xv

Introduction and Overview: Humanist Economics as Public Reason Pratap Bhanu Mehta xviii

Part 1 The Politics of Poverty-The Social Crisis of Development in India

1 Crisis Today: The Dimming of Hope 3

2 Politics of Poverty-I: The Deepening Social Crisis 10

3 Politics of Poverty-II: A Quiet Burial for Ideology 17

4 The Ritual of Remembering Gandhiji 21

5 Farmers' Stir-I: Writing on the Nasik Wall 28

6 Farmers' Stir-II: Changes in Inter-sectoral Price Parity 37

7 Will the Rains Fill Our Bowls? 50

Part 2 Dependencies' Independence-The International Context to India's Experiment

8 Economic Co-operation 65

9 North-South Divide: An Economic Analysis 78

10 Today's Controversies-I: Delhi's Attitude to Aid 99

11 Today's Controversies-II: Fertiliser and Foreign Capital 108

12 Trade Prospects 119

Part 3 Rope Tricks-Planning India's Development

13 The Annual Indian Rope Trick 131

14 Nehruism and the Second Phase 141

15 Second Thoughts on Indian Planning 145

16 To Earn or Not to Spend: The Taxing Question 157

Part 4 Industrialising India-Follies and Policies

17 India: The Emerging Industrial Power 175

18 Crisis Today-I: Failure to Stem Structural Deterioration 191

19 Crisis Today-II: Anti-inflation Follies 201

20 Crisis Today-III: IMF Borrowals-Perils of Economic Chaos 206

21 Industrial Policy 214

Conclusion and Afterword Sanjaya Baru 242

Index 247

About the Author 255

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