Dr Ajay Chibber was the guest at the latest edition of PIC Conversations and he spoke on “Transforming India’s Economy: Lessons from Global Experience.” The session was chaired by Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Trustee, PIC.

Dr. Chhibber began by noting that India was in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis which had devastated lives, exposed the weak health infrastructure and the deep vulnerabilities of the Indian economy. At the outset, he emphasised that India needed a rescue package for its population directed not only at the most vulnerable sections of society but also at the MSMEs and smaller groups. He said, while India until recently was showing economic growth, this was lopsided. A useful starting point would be to benchmark India’s economic progress against the countries in its immediate neighbourhood, Dr. Chibber said, pointing out that life expectancy was now better in Bangladesh as compared to India.

Such benchmarking would help provide a realistic appraisal of where India stood, not only in comparison to other nations, but in comparison to its own lofty goals. Unemployment, developmental inequities, overdependence on services sector, lack of a fully matured industrial manufacturing sector and inefficient banking systems were some of the problems that India needed to address, by learning from the experiences of other nations, he said.

He described the government as largely interventionist, which, he said, hindered true reforms in policy, regulation and outcomes. Dr. Chibber emphasised that top down approaches rarely worked, and that ground-up approaches must be based on meaningful data. The talk was followed by a round of questions and answers.

Please find below the link to Dr. Chibber’s working paper from the Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP):
https://www2.gwu.edu/~iiep/assets/docs/papers/2021WP/ChhibberIIEP2021-02.pdf

Here’s the link to the video recording of this session: