. While the reasons for adopting a centrally directed strategy of development were understandable against the background of colonial rule, it, however soon became clear that the actual results of this strategy were far below expectations. Instead of showing high growth, high public savings and a high degree of self-reliance, India was actually showing one of the lowest rates of growth in the developing world with a rising public deficit and a periodic balance of payment crises. Between 1950 and 1990, India’s growth rate averaged less than 4 per cent per annum and this was at a time when the developing world, including Sub-Saharan Africa and other least developed countries, showed a growth rate of 5.2 % per annum.
An important assumption in the choice of post-independence development strategy was the generation of public savings, which could be used for higher and higher levels of investment. However, this did not happen, and the public sector-instead of being a generator of savings for the community’s good- became, over time, a consumer of community’s savings. This reversal of roles had become evident by the early seventies, and the process reached its culmination by the early eighties. By then, the government began to borrow not only to meet its own revenue expenditure but also to finance public sector deficits and investments. During 1960-1975, total public sector borrowings averaged 4.4 % of GDP. These increased to 6 % of GDP by 1980-81, and further to 9 % by 1989-90. Thus, the public sector, which was supposed to generate resources for the growth of the rest of the economy, gradually became a net drain on the society as a whole.
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