Montek Singh Ahluwalia bares India’s backstage story

His book 'Backstage: The Story behind India’s High Growth Years' discusses successes and failures of UPA regime during which the time when he had a handle on the powerful Planning Commission

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By Asia Samachar INDIA |

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, a noted economist who served as a senior economic policymakers for three decades, has released his autobiography badged as a classic insider’s account of how the India story was shaped and scripted.

Backstage: The Story behind India’s High Growth Years‘ was formally released by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh yesterday (19 Feb).

He was the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, a position which carries the rank of a Cabinet Minister. In 2011, he was made the first director of the Independent Evaluation Office at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The book touches on the politics of reform, and how policy change was pushed through—at first, slowly, under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and then much more boldly in 1991 when the opportunity provided by a severe balance of payments crisis was seized for wide-ranging reform, according to a promotional release on the book.

The author discusses the successes and failures of the UPA regime during which the time when he had a handle on the Planning Commission.

He presents the story behind India’s spectacular economic growth in the first half of the UPA’s tenure as well as its historic achievements in poverty alleviation. He also candidly discusses the policy paralysis and allegations of corruption that came to mark the last few years of UPA 2, according to the release.

Ahluwalia was born in 1943. Ahluwalia graduated from Delhi University and has a MA and an MPhil in Economics from Oxford University.

He began his career at the World Bank in 1968 and joined the Indian Ministry of Finance in 1979. He subsequently served as Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, as Commerce Secretary, Finance Secretary and as a member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

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