Hindu rate of growth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Compare India (orange) with South Korea (yellow). Both started from about the same income level in 1950. The graph shows GDP per capita of South Asian economies and South Korea as a percent of the American GDP per capita.

The Hindu rate of growth is a term referring to the low annual growth rate of the economy of India before the liberalisations of 1991, which stagnated around 3.5% from 1950s to 1980s, while per capita income growth averaged 1.3%.[1]

The term contrasts with South Korea's Miracle on the Han River and the Taiwan Miracle. While these Asian Tigers had similar income level as India in the 1950s, exponential economic growth since then has transformed them into developed countries today.

Many claim that the economy of India accelerated and grew at a rate of around 6–9% since economic liberalisation began in the 1990s[2].[3]. However, growth began accelerating in 1980.

The word "Hindu" in the term was used by some early economists like Vikas Mishra (economist) to imply that the Hindu outlook of fatalism and contentedness was responsible for the slow growth. Later economists reject this connection and instead attribute the rate to the Government of India's protectionist and interventionist policies (see Licence Raj), rather than to a specific religion or to the attitude of the adherents of a particular religion. Accordingly, some writers instead use the term "Nehruvian socialism".[4]


The term was coined by Indian economist Raj Krishna.[5][6] It suggests that the low growth rate of India, a country with mostly Hindu population was in a sharp contrast to high growth rates in other Asian countries, especially the East Asian Tigers, which were also newly independent. This meaning of the term, popularised by Robert McNamara[citation needed], was used disparagingly and has connotations that refer to the supposed Hindu outlook of fatalism and contentedness.[7]


In 1947, the average annual income in India was $439, compared with $619 for China, $770 for South Korea, and $936 for Taiwan. By 1999, the numbers were $1,818; $3,259; $13,317; and $15,720.[8]

Year India China South Korea Taiwan
1947 $439 $619 $770 $936
1999 $1,818 $3,259 $13,317 $15,720

India's growth rate was low by standards of developing countries. At the same time, Pakistan grew by 5%, Indonesia by 6%, Thailand by 7%, Taiwan by 8% and South Korea by 9%.[9]

The comparison with South Korea was stark:

  1. In 1947, South Korean per capita income was less than 2 times bigger than India's.
  2. By 1960, South Korean per capita income was 4 times larger than India's
  3. By 1990, South Korean per capita income was 20 times larger.[10]


Noted politician and journalist Arun Shourie pointed out that the "Hindu rate of growth" was a result of socialist policies implemented by governments:

because of those very socialist policies that their kind had swallowed and imposed on the country, our growth was held down to 3–4 per cent, it was dubbed — with much glee — as ‘the Hindu rate of growth’.

— Arun Shourie[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Redefining The Hindu Rate Of Growth. The Financial Express
  2. ^ Subramanian, Arvind (2018-02-08). "India's Path From Crony Socialism to Stigmatized Capitalism | by Arvind Subramanian". Project Syndicate. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  3. ^ Derviş, Kemal (2018-02-12). "The Future of Economic Convergence | by Kemal Derviş". Project Syndicate. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  4. ^ Chakravarty, Manas (November 17, 2014). "The Nehruvian rate of growth". Livemint. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Indian Economy: Dutt & Sundaram
  6. ^ http://planningcommission.gov.in/aboutus/speech/spemsa/msa033.pdf
  7. ^ Tripathi, Salil (June 13, 2006). "Escaping the 'Hindu rate of growth'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Meghnad Desai (2003). "India and China: An essay in comparative political economy" (PDF). IMF.
  9. ^ "Industry passing through phase of transition". The Tribune India.
  10. ^ "India: the economy". BBC. February 12, 1998.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2008-01-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]