Social Scientist. v 13, no. 148 (Sept 1985) p. 43.


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BALANCE OF PAYMENT 4.^

per cent per annum. Neither of these is likely, given past experience and protectionist trends in the international economy.

As opposed to these scenarios, the one which does offer hope of rescuing India's balance of payments from a possible crisis, is that which argues for a policy, of greater import controls combined with selective promotion of exports (Table VII). If this could take export growth rates to the levels they attained in the seventies, but reduce the rate of growth of import volume by one per cent to 5.57 per cent per annum, then the debt service ratio after two rounds of borrowing can be restricted to 18.9 per cent-a level below the ceiling specified by the Bank and the government. Put briefly, our conservative projections of trends in India's balance of payments not only establish the near-imposibility of dealing with the structural imbalance in our balance of trade through an open-door policy aimed at boosting exports, but also argue for a regime of greater import controls, if the balance of payments crisis is to be kept at bay. Seen in this light, the government's liberalisation drive and its refusal to assess the full implication of recent trends in our balance of payments, presages a process of cumulative indebtedness that co.uld threaten India's already weakened national sovereignity.

1. See World Bank, Situation and Prospects of the Indian Economy A Medium Term Perspective, Volume III, Repon No. 4962W, South Asia Programs, India Division, April 16, 1984, pp 55-6.

2. Ibid, Table 3. 5, p. 58.

3. Net imports of crude oil and petroleum products stood at Rs. 5258 crore in 1980-81 and Rs.3,318 crore in 1984-85. See Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy, Economic Intelligence Service JBasic Statistics relating to the Indian Economy, Vol. II, Bombay August 1984, Table 20, 8, 1, and Economic Outlook, Bombay, June 1985, Table 2, 6, p. 18.

4. Ibid., p. 20

5. Figure obtained from a reply to a question in Parliament by Minister of State Janardhan Poojary.

6. Economic Outlook, June 1985, Table 2, 5, p. 17.

7. See Statement No. 2 in Government of India ,Min istry of Commerce Import and Export Policy for April 1985to March 1988, full text of the Official Press Note issued on 12April 1985, reprinted by Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy, Bombay, April 1985.

8. World Bank, op., cit., p . 55.

9. While this figure (obtained from CMIE, Economic Outlook, Table 3.6, p. 24) includes net interest payments on debt it excludes net investment income on other forms ofinvestment-an outflow that is not included anywhere in our calculations (since they are not available separately), introducing a bias favourable to India in our estimates.



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