The Neo-liberal Economic Reforms and Challenges in India

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 16:35:00 GMT

The Business School's Emerging Markets Research Group (EMERGE) heard Dr. Kalim Siddiqui from the University of Huddersfield, present his research on the neo-liberal economic reforms and challenges in India.

Kalim is a Senior Lecturer and a Course Leader in BSc Economics at the Business School at Huddersfield University. His main research interest is aimed at India and its development. Kalim's research ranges from social to economic aspects of India's development. Indeed, he has published a significant amount of papers mapping the development and current state of play of India's economy, politics and socio-cultural environment.

Kalim says "Neoliberal economic reforms were adopted in India in 1991. As a result import tariffs and barriers to foreign trade and investment were lowered. The country also reduced the role of state and public sector, and dismantled controls, while increasing the role of the market and private sector within the economy. As a result, foreign capital investment and foreign exchange reserves improved. However, job expansion did not occur and there has been no corresponding decline in the share in agricultural employment. Even the much heralded IT sector's dramatic expansion over the last two decades has provided jobs directly to less than a million people.

The study is important because there currently seems to be a gap in the literature, since most published research has highlighted India's overall GDP growth rates. Mainstream economists have not paid enough attention to the performance of the agriculture sector in India, which provides livelihoods for more than half of the India's inhabitants, while contributing only to 12% of the GDP. Overall I find that little academic research has been done on the importance and performance of industrial and agriculture sectors in a developing economy like that of India. The industrial sector has languished at around 16% of GDP, which is much less than that of China or of any other country at India's stage of economic development.

The study intends to examine what happened to industrial and agricultural growth after neoliberalism was adopted. Soon after independence, India adopted 'import-substitution-industrialization' (ISI) policy. The strategy emphasized the development of basic and heavy industries as a necessary step for accelerating economic growth, in a situation where the economy's export prospects are bleak."

Professor John Anchor, Director of the Emerging Markets Research Group, says "Dr Siddiqui's research highlights an important set of issues which underlie the significant differences between the so called BRIC economies. These issues deserve to be investigated thoroughly given the importance of emerging markets in the world economy".

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