Friday, May 8, 2009

Books on Indian Politics and Economics

The 2009 Elections in the largest democracy in the world is entering its final lap. The results of the election will be announced on May 16, 2009. That’s 714 million registered voters deciding a total of 543 parliamentary seats. I find this quite humbling – think about the colossal effort to organise the elections and to ensure that it’s conducted fairly and (relatively) smoothly. And think about some of the “administrative difficulties”-type excuses that government bureaucrats, here and elsewhere, sometimes come up with. Where there is a collective will, there’s a way.

Here’s a list of 4 books on Indian politics and economics:

  • The Future of India: Politics, Economics and Governance by Bimal Jalan. The author is one of India's leading economists, a former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and Member of the Upper House. He addresses the widely held presumption that India's future is as a developed country. The careful analysis posits that it is the combination of the politics, economics and governance of the country that will determine India's future.

  • The Indian Renaissance: India's Rise after a Thousand Years of Decline by Sanjeev Sanyal. A successful Indian economist/banker explores with verve the history and post-1993 liberalisation of India. He makes a case that this will lead to a profound renaissance and India's re-emergence as an economic and cultural superpower after a thousand years of decline.

  • Indian Democracy: Meanings and Practices edited by Rajendra Vora and Suhas Palshikar. India adopted a democratic constitution in 1950, but democracy as both a form of government and as an organizing principle remains a contentious concept in Indian political discourse. This book examines how Indian democracy has survived the challenges posed by illiteracy, poverty, secessionism and communalism. The fifteen essays in this volume look at how democracy is understood in India, how to expand the meaning of democracy and what developments have emerged. The contributors argue that the democracy in India is not "substantive" democracy and that it does not in fact represent the people.

  • Political Economy of Federalism in India by Govinda Rao and Nirvikar Singh. This book argues that Indian federalism is at a crossroad. The contradictions, weaknesses and challenges of Central-State relations have been made evident by the emergence of regional political parties in India and market-based development in a globalising economy. This book deals with the system, institutions, and outcomes from the interplay of political and economic forces in Indian federalism. It significantly broadens the conceptual framework for analysing Indian federalism by exploring political elements and institutions and their strategic interaction with fiscal variables.

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