Indian Economy : Mirage of Resilience
THE Annual Report of the Reserve Bank of India for the year 1971-1972 presents a remarkable exercise in white-washing the serious crisis in the Indian economy. The Report states, with an unusual flush of enthusiasm, that
The dominant feature of the Indian economy during the period July 1971-June 1972 was the resilience it demonstrated under conditions of unexpected and large increases in domestic expenditure.
An analysis of the data presented in the Report, however, presents an entirely different picture of the Indian economy—a picture of sectoral imbalances, shortfalls in output of key sectors, spiralling prices, mounting unemployment, tax burdens and further accentuation of inequalities. It is surprising that a supposedly 'independent', 'expert' body, such as the Reserve Bank of India, has stooped so low in their scientific objectivity in order to paint a rosy picture of the crisis-ridden economy, seemingly to conform to the wishes of the Government of India. The Reserve Bank of India is expected to take an independent view of the state of the Indian economy and offer advices to the Government on the basis of an objective assessment of the trends in the economy. But, the crude manner in which this 'expert' body has tried to 'legitimise' the policies and programmes of the Government of India, despite the staggering facts presented in the report itself, is enough for anyone to shed their prevailing illusions about the objectivity of Government sponsored institutions.
The increase in real national income in the first year 1971-72 (at 1960-61 prices) was less than 4 per cent. This was lower than the growth rates in the two previous years: 5.3 per cent in 1969-70 and 4.7 per cent in 1970-71. With such a poor performance in 1971-72, coming in the wake of the not so impressive performances in the two preceding years, it is clear that the Fourth Plan target of 5.5 per cent rate of growth per annum cannot be attained unless, of course, a miracle of 7 per cent growth rate takes place in the last two years of the Plan.
The decline in the growth rate of real national income during 1971-72 was the result of shortfalls in production in both the industrial and agricultural sectors. In the case of agriculture, the output of coarse grain showed a decline; this was primarily due to a shortfall in bajra by about 2.7 million tonnes. The output of pulses also witnessed a decline compared to the previous year. As the Annual Report points out, "This is somewhat of a set-back particularly in view of the fact that the area