Diagnosing and addressing India's post-2011 growth slowdown

Envisioning India Series

India's GDP has crashed in 2020 due to the pandemic - but it was showing a decline even before that. Private investment surged in India from 2003 to 2012, and has declined thereafter. In 2020 rupees, the stock of under implementation private projects has dropped from Rs.83 trillion in 2012 to Rs.35 trillion today. The most important puzzle in Indian economics today consists of diagnosing and addressing the disenchantment of the private sector, the change in conditions when compared with the high growth of the 1991-2011 period. Most GDP growth, and almost all jobs, are made when private persons choose to invest in building firms. What happened to the promise? Where have we faltered? How do we change course? How do we overcome the dangers of the middle-income trap and get rich before we grow old? What do we need to do to make our tryst with destiny? This requires going back to first principles, in public economics and public administration, to rethink the foundations of public policy in India, to rethink the concept of the Indian state and its engagement with private persons. Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah wrote an ambitious book, "In service of the republic: The art and science of economic policy", around these questions. It was recently chosen as one of the Best books of 2020 by Bloomberg.

About the speakers:

Vijay Kelkar served the Government of India as petroleum secretary, finance secretary and chairman of the Thirteenth Finance Commission of India. He also served as director of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and as executive director of the International Monetary Fund. In 2011, the President of India conferred the Padma Vibhushan upon him. He has a masters from the University of Minnesota and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ajay Shah has worked at the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, the Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, the Ministry of Finance and the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP). His areas of research include economics, law and public administration. He has a BTech in aeronautical engineering from IIT, Bombay, and a PhD in economics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Ashima Goyal, professor IGIDR, Mumbai, is widely published in institutional and open economy macroeconomics, international finance and governance, edits a Routledge journal, has received many fellowships, national and international awards, is active in the Indian public debate with a monthly column at Hindu Business Line, and has a served on several boards and policy committees including the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. Currently she is a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of India’s Central Bank.

James Foster is the Oliver T. Carr Professor of International Affairs and Professor of Economics at George Washington University as well as the director of the Institute for International Economic Policy. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University and holds a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo (Mexico). His research focuses on development economics, inequality and poverty, and economic theory and policy. His joint 1984 Econometrica paper (with Joel Greer and Erik Thorbecke) is one of the most cited papers on poverty. It introduced the FGT Index, which has been used in thousands of studies and was employed in targeting the Progresa CCT program in México. His other research includes work on economic inequality with Amartya Sen; on the distribution of human development with Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva and Miguel Szekely; on multidimensional poverty with Sabina Alkire; and on literacy with Kaushik Basu. He is also Research Fellow at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), Department of International Development, Oxford University, and a member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity (HCEO) Working Group, Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics, University of Chicago. This year he is serving on the World Bank’s Commission on Global Poverty. He has received the Unilever Fellowship and the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award in Health Policy. He has also taught at Vanderbilt University and the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, as well as well as being a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, Cornell, Essex, Oxford, Harvard, and the University of the Americas in Pueblo, Mexico.

Ajay Chhibber is Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Institute for International Economic Policy, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, the Atlantic Council, Washington DC.
He was the Chief Economic Advisor, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). He was earlier the first Director General (Minister of State) , Independent Evaluation Office, Government of India and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), India – affiliated institute of the Ministry of Finance – where he completed a major study on India’s Public Sector Enterprises.
He held senior positions at the UN as Assistant Secretary General and Assistant Administrator, UNDP and managed their program for Asia and the Pacific. At the World Bank he served as Country Director in Turkey and Vietnam and Division Chief for Indonesia and the Pacific and Lead Economist, West Africa Department. He was also Director of the 1997 World Development Report on the Role of the State. He also worked in the World Bank’s Research Department, as Advisor to the Chief Economist of the World Bank and at the Public Economics Division.
He has a Ph. D from Stanford University, a Masters from the Delhi School of Economics. He also has attended advanced management programs at the Harvard Business School, Harvard University and INSEAD, France. He taught at Georgetown University and at the University of Delhi. He has published widely including 5 books in development economics, and is a contributor (columnist) to several newspapers.

This event is co-sponsored with the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

This event is public and open to the media.