Policy Engagements and Blogs

‘The Lost Decade (2008-18): How India’s Growth Story Devolved into Growth Without a Story’ by Puja Mehra

Rohit Chandra

November 13, 2019

Before the global financial meltdown of 2008, India’s economy was thriving and its GDP growth was cruising at an impressive 8.8 per cent. The economic boom impacted a large section of Indians, even if unequally. With sustained high growth over an extended period, India could have achieved what economists call a ‘take-off’ (rapid and self-sustained GDP growth). The global financial meltdown disrupted this momentum in 2008.

In the decade that followed, each time the country’s economy came close to returning to that growth trajectory, political events knocked it off course. In 2019, India’s GDP is growing at the rate of 7 per cent, making it the fastest-growing major economy in the world, but little on the ground suggests that Indians are actually better off. Economic discontent and insecurity are on the rise, farmers are restive, and land-owning classes are demanding quotas in government jobs. The middle class is palpably disaffected, the informal economy is struggling and big businesses are no longer expanding aggressively. India is not the star it was in 2008 and in effect, the ‘India growth story’ has devolved into ‘growth without a story’.

The Lost Decade tells the story of the slide and examines the political context in which the Indian economy failed to recover lost momentum.

Puja Mehra is an Economic Journalist. Rathin Roy is Director of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. Nitin Desai is the Former Chief Economic Advisor at the Ministry of Finance. Rohit Chandra is a Fellow at CPR.

A review of the book by Rohit Chandra, published in Open, the Magazine can be read here.

The question and answer session that followed can be accessed here.