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Books of the Week - Saturday, 11Th December, 2021

India Reckoning:
Rewards and Discontents of Democracy
by Dr Bimal Jalan 

About the Book
As India enters its seventy-fifth year of independence, conventional policy is unlikely to combat the breadth of its economic challenges. Across a range of areas-human capital, technology, agriculture, finance, trade, public service delivery and more-new ideas must now be on the table. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only cost India many lives and livelihoods, it has also exposed major structural weaknesses in the economy.
A huge farm and jobs crisis, rising and massive inequalities, tepid investment growth, and chronic banking sector challenges have plagued the economy, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also exposed the limitations of the Indian state, which tries to control too much-and ends up stifling the economy and the inherent energies of its young population. Climate change is no longer a distant threat, while disruptive technology has huge implications for India's demographic dividend. In addition, the dangerous lurch towards majoritarianism will cast its shadow on India's pursuit of prosperity for all.
Unshackling India examines the question: Can India use the next twenty-five years, when it will reach the hundredth year of independence, to restructure not only its economy but rejuvenate its democratic energy and unshackle its potential-to become a genuinely developed economy by 2047? The book argues that India can foster a prosperous and inclusive economy if it sets its mind to it, acknowledges the hard truths, and lays out the clear choices and new ideas India must adopt towards that end.

About the Author
Ajay Chhibber is Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Institute of International Economic Policy, George Washington University, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National Institute for Public Finance and Policy and India's first Director General of Independent Evaluation with the status of Minister of State in 2013-14. From 2008-2013 he was UN Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator at UNDP. He served as the World Bank's Country Director in Turkey and Vietnam and led the 1997 World Development Report on the role of the state. He has published five books on economic development and many articles in international journals and in major newspapers. He has a PhD from Stanford University, a master's degree from the Delhi School of Economics, and has done advanced management programs at Harvard University and at INSEAD, France. He has also taught economics at Georgetown University and the University of Delhi. He won the David Rajaram Prize as best all-rounder at St. Stephens College, New Delhi.
Salman Anees Soz is an economic development consultant, author and commentator. He has extensive experience across a range of economic development issues in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. He serves as a consultant to multiple World Bank teams and was previously a consultant at the Asian Development Bank. He is a recipient of the World Bank President's Award for Excellence. His commentaries appear in a avriety of media outlets. He also speaks on politics, economics and international affairs at universities, think tanks and conferences. He is Deputy Chairman of the All India Professionals' Congress and serves as an advisor to other institutions. He holds a master's degree in business administration from Yale University, a master's degree in economics from Northeastern University, and a BA (Hons.) in economics from St. Stephen's College, where he was the president of the Students' Union Society.
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