India: The Emerging Giant

By Arvind Panagariya | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

“Take your time, but write a definite book on India.” Those were the last words of advice from my father on a telephone call from Jaipur, my hometown. He passed away a week later, on New Year’s Day, 2006. At 84, his enthusiasm to see his children (and grandchildren) excel was undiminished. He had lived his life by the same rule, distinguishing himself first as a top-class civil servant and then, after retirement, as an author of a dozen books, of which one was released by no less than Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In writing this book, I have benefited from the wisdom and generosity of many. But I owe by far the greatest debt to Jagdish Bhagwati, who has been a constant source of inspiration throughout my professional life. As a student in India, I read many of his prolific writings on international trade, development, and India. At the time, I scarcely imagined that one day I would have the honor to occupy a chair named after him. His 1970 book on India, jointly written with Padma Desai, is the best work in existence on the economic policies and their pitfalls in postindependence India. It also outlines a strategy of growth and poverty reduction that India would begin to implement only many years later. My thinking, as that of virtually every leading scholar of the Indian economy, is greatly influenced by this monumental work.

I also wish to thank T. N. Srinivasan, a great scholar of international trade and economic development, for helping me understand better many of the intricacies of the Indian economy. Numerous discussions with Vijay Kelkar during his tenure as India’s executive director at the International Monetary Fund sparked my interest in aspects of the economy about which I had not thought before. This is particularly true of higher education. My longtime friends Govinda Rao and Rajesh Chadha have been most generous at all stages during this work. With their vast knowledge of the Indian economy, they have always been there to answer my questions, big and small.

As will be apparent from my extensive references, many of the ideas in the book originated in my monthly column in the Economic Times, India’s leading financial

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