Books Published

Released on : July 21, 2013

The New Bihar

Bihar was at the heart of the first two all-India empires in history, that of the Mauryas and the Guptas. Justly famous for its institutions of learning, with universities at Vikramshila and Nalanda, it was also home to scholars like Kautilya, Aryabhata and Panini. However, the state went on a downward spiral after Independence and by the 1980s it was at the bottom of the heap on all human development indices.

After decades of stagnation and decline, the state has shown remarkable progress. Notorious for crime and violence, it has become relatively safe and secure. A state where development and growth were unheard of for decades is showing both in ample measure. Today, Bihar emerges as one of the best performers among all Indian states in recent years on many counts.

In The New Bihar: Rekindling Governance and Development, N.K. Singh and Nicholas Stern have put together a perceptive collection of essays on the emerging Bihar model of development-its achievements, shortcomings, and the bumpy road ahead. While Amartya Sen provides a historical background of Bihar’s distinguished past, Kaushik Basu discusses the decline of Bihar in recent history and the turnaround since 2005. Meghnad Desai, Shankar Acharya and Arvind Virmani document how the state turned around to take a lead in terms of per capita GDP growth after 2005. Sudipto Mundle stresses the role of the strengthened fiscal situation in Bihar in explaining its strong performance. M.S. Swaminathan, Yoginder K. Alagh and Mangala Rai speak of the achievements and challenges in the agricultural sector, even as Isher Judge Ahluwalia argues for a high rate of urbanization to take the development story of Bihar forward. Pavan Kumar Varma speaks of the cultural revival in Bihar while George Yeo writes about the biggest example of Bihar’s cultural renaissance-the rebuilding of Nalanda University.

Brimming with insights on governance as well as issues in various sectors of the state’s economy, The New Bihar is a must-read for economists, policymakers administrators, politicians and students of political economy. There is special emphasis on innovative and creative social change and restructuring represented by the Bihar Model which has managed to combine inclusiveness with high growth. This book provides an in-depth account of the transformation by those who have been involved as actors and observers and who combine a careful analytical approach with close knowledge.

Price: Rs. 463.00

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Released on : January 26, 2010

Not By Reason Alone

Not by Reason Alone is a comment on the past and present of the politics of change. The book explores both interpretations of this statement: first, the accumulating evidence, anecdotes, and signs that reason alone does not drive the behaviour of groups or of nations; second, that we need to not be reasonable sometimes. This insightful analysis of the political economy of reform is coupled with the understanding that we need to be compassionate, passionate, creative, hopeful, altruistic, and otherwise unreasonable, to ensure that the politics of change is more than a dull grinding reconciliation of interests at least once in a while.

India needs these kinds of unreasonable discontinuities now more than ever. Major liberalization happened more than a decade ago and while there have been important advances since then, the pace has slowed.

The 'reform days' are slipping into the past. At the same time, the need for change has intensified. India still shines, India is still incredible, but the chinks in the armour are showing as never before.

Including a review of the results of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the author, N.K. Singh, draws on his experiences as a close observer, initiator and driver of India's post-reform trajectory to analyse the directions in which India is moving. Having held top positions in the finance ministry and Planning Commission as a civil servant over the past decades, and currently as a member of the Rajya Sabha, N.K. Singh has a rare exposure to national, state, political, and bureaucratic aspects of India's policy-making and policy - implementation processes.

Not by Reason Alone: The Politics of Change draws on that diverse experience to give the reader an unusual window into the Indian political economy. Singh has analysed, critiqued, explained and prompted several recent attempts at reforming infrastructure, opening the financial sector, Centre-state relations, deregulating administered prices, rationalizing subsidy and changing attitudes to India from a global perspective in his popular 'From the Ringside' column in the Indian Express and articles in other major national dailies.

Price: Rs. 250.00

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Released on : July 30, 2007

The Politics of Change: A Ringside View

The economic policy changes of the past decade and a half have unleashed a side of India that has taken the world by storm. But the current growth trends are not sustainable without further reforms.' As additional secretary (economic affairs), expenditure secretary, revenue secretary, secretary to the prime minister and later as member, Planning Commission, N.K. Singh has navigated the system to help steer India's economic liberalization from 1991 to 2004. In his weekly column 'From the Ringside', written for the Indian Express, Singh has dissected, explicated and critiqued the infrastructure, centre-state relations, the opening up of the insurance sector, petroleum prices and their deregulation and changing global perspectives on India.

The Politics of Change draws on N.K. Singh's experience to give the reader a window into Indian politics and economy, providing incisive insights into the realities of coalition politics and international fault lines. The analyses help understand why some initiatives have succeeded in transforming the economic landscape while other bills, schemes and initiatives which were launched with good intentions have either floundered or eventually emerged with scars after years of tussle. The book also highlights the challenges that India must face as its institutions evolve to keep pace with the task of governing and supporting the rapidly changing economic and social landscape.

Price: Rs. 231.00

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