India’s economic evolution: A decade of transformative reforms and challenge

In 2004, during the UPA government’s tenure, India experienced robust economic growth, reaching 8%. However, the government failed to capitalize on the foundation laid by the previous NDA government. Between 2004 and 2008, the economy grew, attributing to NDA’s reforms and global conditions. The UPA took credit for high growth but failed to consolidate it, leading to mismanagement, high inflation, and fiscal deficits.

The UPA’s neglect of infrastructure and failure to strengthen the budget left the economy vulnerable. The fiscal deficit remained high for six years, causing economic challenges. The UPA compromised external stability, leading to a sharp depreciation of the Indian rupee in 2013. Foreign exchange reserves dwindled, impacting India’s ability to finance imports. The UPA’s policy failures included poor infrastructure development, unproductive borrowings, and ineffective spending. Large unspent funds in social sector schemes hampered their effectiveness. The government’s focus on populist measures, lack of investment in infrastructure, and policy uncertainties led to an economic slowdown.


Defence under-preparedness, policy misadventures, and corruption scandals, such as the 2G and coal scams, marred the UPA’s governance. The lack of leadership resulted in delayed projects, unutilized investments, and a crippled power sector. The UPA’s inability to implement structural reforms, like the GST, contributed to economic challenges.

While Aadhar was introduced during the UPA era, it lacked purpose and effective implementation. The government’s delay in acquiring essential military equipment, poorly executed development programs, and inadequate project approvals showcased policy inefficiencies. The UPA’s governance was marked by poor decision-making, lack of purpose, and policy failures across various sectors.

Government activities in India were plagued by widespread corruption, affecting areas such as procurement, resource allocation, and regulatory approvals. High-profile corruption cases had a detrimental impact on public confidence. Notable cases include Coal Block Allocation, 2G Telecom Scam, Commonwealth Games, Saradha Chit Fund, INX Media Case etc.

When the BJP government took office, India’s economy faced significant challenges due to misguided economic policies. The 2014 General Elections gave a decisive mandate to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to reverse the economic downturn and restore confidence. The government, upon assuming power, prioritized transparent governance, citizen involvement, and systemic overhaul to rejuvenate India’s economic foundation.

Key accomplishments include:

Coal Sector Reforms:

The government addressed issues in the coal sector, implementing the Coal Mines Special Provisions Act 2015. Record coal production of 893.19 MT in FY23, a 57.8% growth since FY14.

Power Sector Transformation:

Added 196,558 MW of generation capacity since 2014. Achieved “One-Nation, One Grid – One Frequency” and electrified every village and household. Rural power availability increased from 12 to 20.6 hours, and urban areas enjoy 23.8 hours.

Telecom Market Reforms:

Conducted transparent spectrum auctions, trading, and sharing. Launched the world’s fastest 5G rollout, with a record 52 GHz spectrum allocation in the 2022 auction.

Economic Rejuvenation:

Undertook structural reforms, including the Goods & Service Tax (GST), simplifying India’s tax structure. Controlled inflation through responsible fiscal and monetary policies. Improved fiscal discipline, reducing the gross fiscal, revenue, and primary deficits.

Infrastructure Development:

Implemented Gati Shakti for efficient infrastructure development. Boosted national highway construction from 12 km/day in FY15 to 28 km/day in FY23. Increased electrified rail route from 22,224 km (FY15) to 50,394 km (FY22).

Global Recognition and Investment:

India became the fifth-largest economy in 2023 (IMF projections), attracting domestic and foreign investors. Inclusion in JP Morgan’s Government Bond Index-Emerging Markets reflects growing global significance.

Social Welfare Innovations:

Adopted a ‘leave no one behind’ approach, ensuring efficient and empowering welfare schemes. Utilized technology for transparent delivery, implementing Aadhaar-enabled Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Growth:

FDI increased from USD 305.3 billion (FY05-FY14) to USD 596.5 billion (FY15-FY23). Forex reserves rose from USD 303 billion (March 2014) to USD 617 billion (January 2024).

Fiscal Prudence and Transparency:

Reformed public finances, introduced GST, and incorporated off-budget liabilities transparently. Controlled market borrowings and increased capital expenditure.

Forward-Looking Policies:

Enacted policies like Start-Up India, Stand-Up India, and Mudra Yojana to empower job creators. Customized welfare schemes for diverse populations, ensuring efficient and effective delivery.

Despite these achievements, the government acknowledges that challenges persist, and the journey toward making India a developed nation by 2047 is ongoing. The commitment is evident in the Kartavya Kaal, recognizing the responsibilities that lie ahead in the ongoing Amrit Kaal.