vol tion o the ndian        onom         3.3
     century and the first half of the twentieth century                  Now the decisions which were to be taken by
     show the greatest socio-economic irresponsibility               the political leadership of the time were going to
     and neglect of the British government in India at               shape the very future of India. Many important
     one hand and the wretchedness of the masses at                  and strategic decisions were taken only by 1956
     the other.8                                                     which shaped Indian economic journey till
          The political leaders and the industrialists               date—undoubtedly they heavily dominated the
     both were very much aware and conscious about                   pre-reform period, but the post-reform period
     the economic inheritance once India became                      is also not completely free of their impact. To
     independent. Somehow, these dominant lot of                     understand the nature and scope of the Indian
                                                                     economy in current times it is not only useful but
     people who were going to lay down the foundation
                                                                     essential to go through the facts, reasons and the
     stones of the independent Indian economy were
                                                                     delicacies which made the economy evolve and
     almost having consensual9 view, even before the
                                                                     unfold the way it evolved and unfolded. A brief
     Independence, on many major strategic issues:
                                                                     overview follows.
           (i) State/governments should be given a
                 direct responsibility for development.                 Prime moving Force: agriculTure
         (ii) An ambitious and vital role to be assigned                vs. indusTry
                 to the public sector.
        (iii) Necessity for the development of heavy                 A topical issue of the debate regarding India has
                 industries.                                         been the choice for the sector which will lead the
                                                                     process of development. The government of the
        (iv) Discouragement to foreign investment.
                                                                     time opted for industry to be India’s prime moving
         (v) The need for economic planning.                         force of the economy. Whether India should have
          Once India became independent, it was a                    gone for agriculture as its prime moving force
     real challenge for the government of the time to                for better prospects of development, is a highly
     go for a systematic organisation of the economy.                debatable issue even today among experts.
     This was a task full of every kind of challenges                     Every economy has to go for its development
     and hurdles as the economy had hardly anything                  through exploitation of its natural and human
     optimistic. The need of delivering growth and                   resources. There are priorities of objectives set by
     development was in huge demand in front of the                  the economy which is attempted to be realised in
     political leadership as the country was riding on               a proper time frame. The availability and non-
     the promises and vibes of the nationalist fervour.              availability of resources (natural as well as human)
     It was not a simple task.                                       are not the only issues which make an economy
                                                                     decide whether to opts for agriculture or industry
        8.    Recounted vividly by Mike Davis in his Late Victorian
              Holocaust: EI Nino Famines and the Making of the
                                                                     as its prime moving force. There are many more
              Third World (Verso, London & New York, 2001,           socio-political compulsions and objectives which
              p. 162), where he links the monsoon failures in India  play their roles in such decision making.
              to El Nino—Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate
                uctuations in the western acific. he monsoon failure      The political leadership selected industry as the
              leading to drought and hunger one year and then to     leading force of the economy after Independence—
              a severe malaria epidemic the next when the rains      this was already decided by the dominant group of
              reappeared and a urst of mosquito a undance af icted
              a weakened population.                                 the nationalist leaders way back in the mid-1930s
        9.    Bipan Chandra et. al., India’s Struggle for            when they felt the need for economic planning
              Independence, p. 15.                                   in India before setting up the National Planning