For more than two decades, we pursued the Nehruvian doctrine of welfare and the primacy of a public sector-led economy. We ought to have then tapered it down to move over to a private sector-led economy. We might well have done so but for the 1962 war with China that put us on the defensive, politically and economically, for three decades.
By the time we picked up the strands of growth in the 1990s through a liberalised economy, we had an unwieldy public sector and an unimaginative bureaucracy that mishandled inclusive welfare schemes to impose a fiscal burden. Nehru perhaps pursued a socio-political-economic line best suited to those times. Strange that we pick on the Mughal and the Nehruvian eras and not the intervening British rule. There is a lesson for any progressive nation: history is not for selective reading and that it matters less as to where we started but more on how we intend to go ahead to progress quickly and inclusively.R Narayanan Navi Mumbai
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