The object of this lecture is to reflect on, and explore, India's future prospects in the context of economics and politics but situated in historical perspective. To set the stage before the play begins, it considers the striking transformations in the mood of the nation, from surging hopes to widespread despair to upbeat optimism, in a short time span of just one decade. The discussion is divided into three parts. First, it considers structural changes in the political process to focus on the reasons for hope and for despair. Second, it analyses the economic dimension, by sketching a picture of where we are and where we need to go from here, to highlight the bad news and the good news. Third, it examines what needs to be done in the realm of politics and the sphere of economics if the aspirations of people, and of the nation, are to be realised. In conclusion, it highlights why the Republic of India can be exhilarating and distressing, engaging and frustrating, or exciting and annoying, at the same time, which suggests a dialectical relationship between hope and despair.
Prof. Deepak Nayyar is Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was Distinguished Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research, New York and has taught Economics at the University of Oxford, the University of Sussex and the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi, from 2000-2005. Prof. Nayyar has also served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India and Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. He was educated at St. Stephen’s College and the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and at the University of Oxford, UK. Prof. Nayyar’s research interests are primarily in the areas of international economics, macroeconomics and development economics. He has published books on a wide range of subjects including trade policies, industrialization strategies, macroeconomic stabilization, economic liberalization, trade theory, macro policies, international migration, multilateral trading system. He has written extensively on economic development in India.