On August 15, 2017, India celebrated 70 years of independence from British colonial rule. In 1947, many considered India too diverse and poor to survive as a functioning democratic nation-state. 70 years later, India has become the world’s largest democracy and is predicted to become the third largest economy by 2030.
At independence, India chose to adopt a mixed economic model with Fabian socialism as the foundation. Since the liberalization reforms of 1991, India has moved toward a free market economy and its GDP growth has averaged seven percent from 1994 to 2016. India has a labor force of 510 million, a middle class of 267 million, and a market capitalization of $1.94 trillion. Yet India still faces vast challenges in terms of poverty, infrastructure, and bureaucratic red tape.
To discuss these issues and more, Hudson Institute’s South and Central Asia program held “India at 70,” an event with Dr. Yaga Venugopal Reddy, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India (2003-2008) and author of Advice & Dissent: My Life in Public Service. The event was moderated by Dr. Alyssa Ayres, a senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.