ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Revisiting India's Growth and Development

I G Patel's lifelong concern was to think about framing and implementing policies to lift India from the morass of low per capita income and low levels of social indicators to that of a country which was economically strong and one which would be able to hold its own in the comity of nations. This called for growth at a rapid pace, but, as he always emphasised, in a manner which would necessarily pay adequate attention to the welfare of the poorest sections. It was this which was his abiding concern.

This is a somewhat abridged version of the 5th Dr I G Patel Memorial Lecture that was delivered at Anand, Gujarat on 18 March 2016. For agreeing to read through the text I am deeply grateful to Heman Agrawal, Meghnad Desai, Raghav Gaiha, Raghbendra Jha, K L Krishna, J Krishnamurty, Mark Lindley, Binod Nayak, Nalini Nayak, Niranjan Pandya, Alaknanda Patel, Mohan Patel, M Govinda Rao, K Sundaram and Charan Wadhva. I received many valuable suggestions which I have tried to incorporate. All errors are mine.

1 Introduction

Indraprasad Gordhanbhai Patel (1924–2005) was one of the foremost economists of post-independent India. He had a brilliant academic career, topping in his Bachelor’s examination in the University of Bombay, before going on to King’s College, Cambridge, in 1944, where he remained till 1949 to earn his doctorate, barring a year, 1947–48, which he spent at Harvard. “IG,” as he was known, began his illustrious career as an academic in Baroda College, Bombay University (1949–50). He then went on to work in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (1950–54) and then much later for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (1972–77), and held some of the highest positions of economic decision-making in the Indian government. He was the chief economic adviser (1961–67), secretary, economic affairs in the Ministry of Finance (1967–72), and governor of the Reserve Bank of India (1977–82). Subsequently, he served briefly as the director of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) during 1982–84 after which he held the high profile position of director of the London School of Economics (LSE) during 1984–90.

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