In the history of India’s economic reforms, rhetoric has often proved to be a stronger force than substance. Scrutinizing The Indian Growth Story, a facile phrase casually tossed about by newsmakers and newswriters, reveals that. Historians, however, have documented the liberalization of the economy in 1991 — the pole around which the Story spins — furtively. A good chunk of Mihir S Sharma’s gripping first book, Restart, delves into the events of that hot summer of 1991: the colicking infancy of a reformist India and how a missed opportunity and internalised mistakes have plagued the economic agenda ever since.
To some, the parliamentary walkout by India’s opposition prior to the vote on the country’s annual budget motion marked the failure of India’s ruling Congress party to engage with its primary adversary, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), over its claims that the Prime Minister had lied to parliament to protect his own reputation.