Indian Economy

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSLS2EC1104

Semester and Year Offered: 4th Semester/ 2nd Year

Course Coordinator and Team: Dipa Sinha

Email of course coordinator: dipa[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in


Aim: This course discusses the historical evolution and contemporary situation of a variety of issues arising in the process of the attempted transformation of India’s low-income agriculture-dominated economy after independence. Problems of industrial development and the role of services, the agrarian situation, employment, poverty and inequality, etc. are discussed with reference to the changing economic policy context. The aim is to equip students to analyse the current challenges facing the Indian economy, conduct in-depth research into particular areas of concern in the Indian economy and critique development policy in India.

Course Outcomes:

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate the development policies adopted during the first few decades after Independence
  2. Analyse the context in which economic reforms were introduced in the country in the 1980s and 1990s
  3. Critique the impact of the economic reforms of 1991
  4. Compare different methods of estimation and identification of poverty and the poor
  5. Examine the relationship between inequality, structure of employment and growth in India
  6. Describe the challenges being faced by the Indian economy and their relationship to the global context
  7. Evaluate current social policies
  8. Interpret social and economic data related to India

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

1. Phases of Growth and Structural Change in India

The first module focusses on the period immediately after Independence to the end of the 1980s before the initiation of economic reforms in the country. It includes looking at: Planning strategies in post-Independence India – First to Seventh Five Year Plan and Long-term trends and patterns of structural changes in India’s economy-from Independence to 1990.

2. Economic Reforms after 1991: Liberalisation and Privatisation

In this module, the 25 year period since 1991 is looked at. The experience of the economic reforms of 1991 and its impact on growth, poverty and inequality are discussed. What the reforms entailed are also discussed in detail.

3. Sectoral Growth and Development

While the previous two modules take a historical approach, from this module onwards issues in different sectors and themes of the Indian economy are discussed with an emphasis on current status and challenges. This module includes a discussion on the role of agriculture, the challenge of manufacturing and the trend of India emerging as a service-dominated economy.

4. Poverty, Employment and Inequality

This module looks at the trends in poverty, employment and inequality. It discussed definition and measurement issues for each of these. The trends are analysed along with the main economic policies of each period.

5. Social Security: Food Security, PDS and NREGA

In the final module students are introduced to issues related to the social sector with a special emphasis on food security and PDS and the NREGA.

Assessment Details with weights:

Policy Brief: 20%, Term Paper: 35%, Presentation: 15%, End-semester examination: 30%

The policy brief trains the students to look in detail at a current development policy and critique its design, implementation and impact.

In the term paper and presentation, the emphasis would be on developing the ability to formulate a small research question within a given broad topic, developing an attitude of independent thinking and learning how to assimilate material from multiple sources to present a coherent argument.

The end-semester examination would examine the students for their understanding of methods and approaches taught and their application to the range of development issues related to the Indian Economy

Reading List:

1. Phases of Growth and Structural Change in India

  • Chakravarty, Sukhamoy, 1987. Development Planning, The Indian Experience. Oxford University Press, New Delhi
  • P Patnaik in Byres, Terence J. (ed.), 1999. The Indian Economy: Major Debates Since Independence, Oxford University Press.
  • R Nagaraj (2013). India’s Economic Development, in Atul Kohli and Prerna Singh edited, Routledge Handbook of Indian Politics, Routledge
  • Nayyar, Deepak. (2006) Economic Growth in Independent India: Lumbering Elephant or Running Tiger?, Economic and Political Weekly: 1451-1458.
  • Sen, Abhijit, (1996) Economic reforms, Employment and Poverty, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 31, Number 35
  • Kohli, Atul. 2006. Politics of economic growth in India, 1980-2005: Part I: The 1980s.Economic and Political Weekly: 1251-1259.
  • Kohli, Atul. 2006. Politics of economic growth in India, 1980-2005: Part II: The 1990s and beyond. Economic and Political Weekly: 1361-1370.
  • Rodrik, Dani, and Arvind Subramanian. From" Hindu growth" to productivity surge: the mystery of the Indian growth transition. No. w10376. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2004.

2. Economic Reforms after 1991: Liberalisation and Privatisation

  • Prabhat Patnaik, 2000 On some common Macro-economic Fallacies, EPW, Vol. 35, No. 15
  • Chandrasekhar, C. P. and Jayati Ghosh, 2007. The Market that Failed, Left Word Books, New Delhi
  • Bhaduri, Amit and Deepak Nayyar, 1996. The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Liberalization, Orient Longman, Delhi.
  • Recent special issues in EPW on 25 years of liberalisation

3. Sectoral Growth and Development

  • Vaidyanathan, A. "India's agricultural development policy." Economic and Political Weekly (2000): 1735-1741.
  • Chand, Ramesh, and Shinoj Parappurathu. "Temporal and spatial variations in agricultural growth and its determinants." Economic and Political Weekly 47.26 (2012): 55-64.
  • Sen, Abhijit. "Some reflections on agrarian prospects." Economic & Political Weekly 51.8 (2016): 12-15.
  • Patnaik, Utsa (1994), ‘India’s Agricultural Development in the Light of Historical Experience’, in Terence J. Byres (ed.) The State and Development Planning in India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 265-290
  • Sen, Abhijit (1986): “Shocks and Instabilities in an Agriculture-Constrained Economy: India 1964-85”, Social Scientist, 15 (10),
  • Chandrasekhar, C.P. (2007) The Progress of "Reform" and the Retrogression of Agriculture, Social Scientist, 35 (1/2), 61-75.
  • Nayyar, Deepak, “Industrial Development in India: Some Reflections on Growth and Stagnation”, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XXII, No. 31-33, 1978.
  • R Nagaraj: “Industrial Performance, 1991-08: A Review”, India Development Report, Oxford University Press, 2011.

4. Poverty, Employment and Inequality

  • Ghosh, Jayati. (2014) The Curious Case of the Jobs That Did Not Appear: Structural Change, Employment and Social Patterns In India. Indian Journal of Labour Economics 57.1.
  • R Radhakrishna (2015) Well-being, Inequality, Poverty and Pathways Out of Poverty in India, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 50, Issue No. 41, 10 Oct, 2015
  • Gandhi, A. and Walton, M., 2012. Where Do India’s Billionaires Get Their Wealth? Economic and Political Weekly, 47(40), pp.10-14.
  • Himanshu. 2015. Inequality in India. Seminar. Available at:

5. Social Security: Food Security, PDS and NREGA

  • Jean Dreze and Angus Deaton, Food and Nutrition in India: Facts and Interpretations, Economic and Political Weekly, February, 2009.
  • Deaton and Dreze, 2010, Calorie Fundamentalism, EPW, 3-9 April
  • Patnaik, Utsa, 2010, On Some Fatal Fallacies, EPW, November 20
  • Himanshu and A. Sen, 2011. Why Not a Universal Food Security Legislation” Economic and Political Weekly. March 19, 2011, 46 (12). (2011), pp 38-47.
  • Khera, Reetika (2014). Cash vs. In-kind Transfers: Indian Data Meets Theory, Food Policy, 46, pp. 116-128
  • Dreze Jean and Amartya Sen, An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions, Penguin, New Delhi, 2013.
  • Khera, Reetika. 2011. The Battle for Employment Guarantee. Oxford University Press


  • Reports of Expert Committee, Policy Documents, Budget Documents, Economic Survey etc. available online on websites of Government of India