- Elgar original reference
Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Wahiduddin Mahmud
Chapter 1: India
S. Mahendra Dev Political and economic history – the legacy of colonial rule India inherited a stagnant economy at the time of independence in August 1947. The economy was predominantly agrarian with little industrial development. Before independence, the aggregate real output increased at the rate of less than 2 per cent per annum; in per capita terms, it was less than 0.5 per cent. Agriculture was almost stagnant, with a growth rate of around 0.3 per cent per annum in the ﬁrst half of the 20th century. The condition of the social sector was equally poor. Poverty was very high and concentrated in rural areas. Illiteracy was as high as 88 per cent and public health facilities, water supply and sanitation were very poor. On the eve of independence, Jawaharlal Nehru declared: ‘Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge.’ The pledge included ‘the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity’.1 An important historical characteristic that deeply inﬂuenced the development path of India was its British colonial legacy. The intellectual and political leaders of the independence movement developed a deep distrust of market forces and international trade, the cornerstones of colonial economic policies. These policies were thought to serve mainly imperial economic interests.2 Two other factors – the success of the newly established Soviet Union in achieving state-led rapid industrialization, and the powerful Latin American argument for import-substituting industrialization – also inﬂuenced the development thoughts...
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