Has democracy in India fulfilled the aspirations of its people? Have institutions delivered? Have public policies succeeded in making substantial differences to living standards? Is the country secure on its external borders? Would the country become an economic powerhouse? And can India be a leading power in the years ahead?
All these and many more questions loom large as India completes seven decades of independence. Major challenges persist on the economic front and in providing adequate and quality healthcare, education, food, sanitation and drinking water. Regulatory preoccupations persist as policymakers continue to search for optimal solutions. The task is made harder by a socio-political environment shaped by various complexities. These include an expanding young workforce, a demanding citizenry, intense social media campaigns and a difficult neighbourhood.
Seven Decades of Independent India, edited by Vinod Rai and Amitendu Palit, and published by Penguin, reflects on the India of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, by gathering rare and candid insights from some of the most distinguished experts, practitioners and scholars on India. These include D. Subbarao, ex-governor of RBI; Rajiv Kumar, vice-chairman of NITI Aayog; S.Y. Quraishi, former chief election commissioner; Shivshankar Menon, former national security adviser; Ashok Gulati, professor ICRIER and former chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; Sumit Ganguly, professor of political science, Indiana University; A.K. Shiva Kumar, director, International Centre for Human Development; Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India; Tan Tai Yong, president and professor (humanities) Yale-NUS College, Singapore; Dipankar Gupta, sociologist and former professor, JNU; Pronab Sen, former chief statistician of India and many others.