What were the major differences in the approach towards development at the time of Independence? Has the debate been resolved?

Open in App

With regard to the issue of development, a lot of points of contention emerged over a number of economic issues that the political leaders had to confront.

a. Firstly, there was a point of contention over the question of development, which is by far a very broad and comprehensive concept and means different things to different people.

b. For some the idea of development just implied rise in per capita income and growth in economy, while some associated development with modernisation, which was associated with material progress, growth and reforming social structures so as to become more scientific, progressive and rational in approach.

c. On the eve of independence, one of the major challenges regarding nation building was to bring about economic growth, reduce inequalities and counter poverty and unemployment. Therefore, our political leadership was confronted with two models of development, the Liberal Capitalist Model as promoted by the US, based on private entrepreneurship with minimalist role of the state, or the Soviet model of planned economy.

d. However, there was a general consensus within our leadership as to who preferred Socialist model with state control over means of production.

e. There was a growing realisation that the task of poverty alleviation and social and economic redistribution was the primary responsibility of the government. Thus, the state should be given greater control.

f. Besides that, there were also debates regarding which sector of the economy should be given preference. While some preferred agricultural sector since it constituted the backbone of Indian economy, others preferred the path of industrialisation to bring about growth and prosperity.

g. Thus, the Indian economic model took the middle path by adopting a mixed economy model with the existence of both state-led public sectors, with state controlling basic industries like iron and steel, and private sectors.

Suggest Corrections