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Indian Economy during Mrs. Gandhi's Regime

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Purist economists may argue against studying the impact of the personality of a political leader on the state of the economy of a nation. However, it is hard to deny the interaction between the economic and the political systems. Indira Gandhi held power for a long enough period to leave an impact on her country's economy. Slowly but steadily, she moved away from some of the policies adopted by her predecessors. Even though during the early part of her regime the public sector continued to grow, in the later period she liberalized the economy and gave a considerable free hand to the private sector. Populist programs and policies were replaced by pragmatism. India underwent an agricultural revolution and its technological trained manpower became the largest in the Third World. Her employment policies were only partially successful and despite her emphasis on growth with equity, a substantial percentage of the population lived in poverty. Parallel economy grew at a faster rate than in the past and planned economic development was relegated to a secondary position. Nevertheless, Indira Gandhi left a stronger and healthier economy than the one she inherited at the time of her succession to power.

Affiliations: 1: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, U.S.A.


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