As a $3-trillion economy, India is on her way to becoming an economic superpower. Between 1991 and 2011, the period of our best growth, there was also a substantial decline in the number of people below the poverty line. Since 2011, however, there has been a marked retreat in the high growth performance of the previous two decades.
What happened to the promise? Where have we faltered? How do we change course? How do we overcome the ever-present dangers of the middle-income trap and get rich before we grow old? And one question above all else: What do we need to do to make our tryst with destiny?
As professional economists as well as former civil servants, Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah have spent most of their lives thinking about and working on these questions. The result: In Service of the Republic, a meticulously researched work that stands at the intersection of economics, political philosophy and public administration. This highly readable book lays out the art and the science of the policymaking that we need, from the high ideas to the gritty practicalities that go into building the Republic.
This book has received – deservedly – high praise. Pratap Bhanu Mehta says: ‘This marvellous book is a wonderful guide to thinking about public policy. It combines three things that rarely come together: clear analytical thinking on first principles, a good sense of historical judgement and a commitment to the values of freedom and fairness. It is the work of masterly professionals making their thinking accessible to a wider public.’
Ajay Shah, Economist
Ajay Shah studied at IIT, Bombay and USC, Los Angeles. He has held positions at CMIE, IGIDR and the Ministry of Finance. He is Professor at NIPFP in New Delhi. He does academic and policy-oriented research on India, at the intersection of economics, law and public administration. His second book, co-authored with Vijay Kelkar, is “In service of the republic: The art and science of economic policy”, and was published in 2019 by Penguin Allen Lane. His areas of focus are macroeconomics, finance, health, and technology policy. His work can
be accessed on his home page (http://www.mayin.org/ajayshah) and on the blog that he edits, http://blog.theleapjournal.org.