Indira Gandhi

Apr 2018
747
India
Coal mining in India - Wikipedia


India was a closed socialist economy but Indira sent it further to the left,. For many years I bought chemicals from a family owned company based in Mumbai but which previously had owned considerable coal mines in the Calcutta region. According to the family, one day the military walked in demanded the keys and that was that. They claimed that loss of the company broke the father who died shortly after.

Still they must have retain a bit of cash because they were doing very in the chemical business and had branched out into agricultural and horticulture production.
Sometimes, in poor countries, draconian left leaning economic policies help. Late 60s and 70s in India saw considerable development of Iron and Steel and Power Industries. Both required steady supplies of specific types coal i.e. Anthracite and Power Grade Bituminous respectively in enormous amounts. This would never have been possible with the countries resources in the hands of God knows who at a time when there was no clear legal framework to regulate the activities of privately owned mines.
 
Mar 2015
1,458
Yorkshire
Sometimes, in poor countries, draconian left leaning economic policies help. Late 60s and 70s in India saw considerable development of Iron and Steel and Power Industries. Both required steady supplies of specific types coal i.e. Anthracite and Power Grade Bituminous respectively in enormous amounts. This would never have been possible with the countries resources in the hands of God knows who at a time when there was no clear legal framework to regulate the activities of privately owned mines.
Maybe - the ends justify the means - how many times have I heard that!

I will give a you a little extra bit of my experience at the time and I was very young man, remember. I worked for a company that had assets in India and was forbidden to repatriate the profits. So it decided to invest in castor oil and then build a plant in India to produce intermediates and then complete final production into a myriad of end products in our plants in the UK. The stopping point was that Indira's Government had decided to emulate the Soviet Union and all castor producers had to sell through a Government organisation which would market their product on the International market. Incredible bureaucracy which did not work any better in India than in the Soviet Union.

I don't know about her other policies, for which she may have been revered, but my minor brush with them (we also sold a chemical to the Indian military for ammunition production where we used to joke that the paperwork was heavier than the chemical) convinced me that Indian economy only took off once her influence had been removed. The Indian businessmen that I have met ,in my limited experience, I am sure would agree.
 
Oct 2015
1,138
India
I don't know about her other policies, for which she may have been revered, but my minor brush with them (we also sold a chemical to the Indian military for ammunition production where we used to joke that the paperwork was heavier than the chemical) convinced me that Indian economy only took off once her influence had been removed. The Indian businessmen that I have met ,in my limited experience, I am sure would agree.
Yes, you are correct in my view. India lost at least two decades due to ultra-socialist policies of Indira Gandhi. Her father Nehru was a socialist but she was ultra-socialist.

  • The incremental tax rate during her regime had gone up to 98% but this was the lesser evil because, driven to the wall, the richer people, found ways around this extortionist tax policy.
  • Growth of private sector was completely throttled during Indira Gandhi's regime. One extreme was that if a private company produced more than 25& above its licenced capacity, then it would be prosecuted! Where in the world has a government penalized a company for higher production?
  • And the public sector which she attempted to boost failed to deliver. Her industrial policy declared that "public sector will occupy the commanding heights of economy." She nationalized banks and coal-mines. The public sector in gradually became inefficient (I worked in it for first 17 years of my career).
My impression is that Indira Gandhi did not acquire any graduate-level formal academic qualification. In managing Indian economy she was inspired by the socialist dream of her father and guided by a few policy advisors (Haksar was one) for whom she was a rubber stamp.

Her personal fault in managing the economy was that despite seeing low economic growth rates year after year, she did not take any corrective action and continued with incompetent advisors and ineffective policies.
 
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rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,224
India
Indira was overbold, if I may use that expression. She tackled the insurgency of the radical faction of Sikhs led by Bhindranwale without thinking twice about the adverse effect it could have on her personal safety. She paid for her life but after she had Bhindranwale and his followers killed in a fierce battle which also damaged the ' Golden Temple ' . This temple was a sacred shrine of Sikhs. And it's damage was unacceptable to the Sikhs who soon had her murdered by her Sikh bodyguards.