With the onset of reforms to liberalize the Indian economy in July of 1991, a new chapter has dawned for India and her billion plus population. This period of economic transition has had a tremendous impact on the overall economic development of almost all major sectors of the economy, and its effects over the last decade can hardly be overlooked. Besides, it also marks the advent of the real integration of the Indian economy into the global economy.
This era of reforms has also ushered in a remarkable change in the Indian mindset, as it deviates from the traditional values held since Independence in 1947, such as self reliance and socialistic policies of economic development, which mainly due to the inward looking restrictive form of governance, resulted in the isolation, overall backwardness and inefficiency of the economy, amongst a host of other problems. This, despite the fact that India has always had the potential to be on the fast track to prosperity.
Now that India is in the process of restructuring her economy, with aspirations of elevating herself from her present desolate position in the world, the need to speed up her economic development is even more imperative. And having witnessed the positive role that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has played in the rapid economic growth of most of the Southeast Asian countries and most notably China, India has embarked on an ambitious plan to emulate the successes of her neighbors to the east and is trying to sell herself as a safe and profitable destination for FDI.
Globalization has many meanings depending on the context and on the person who is talking about. Though the precise definition of globalization is still unavailable a few definitions are worth viewing, Guy Brainbant: says that the process of globalization not only includes opening up of world trade, development of advanced means of communication, internationalization of financial markets, growing importance of MNCs, population migrations and more generally increased mobility of persons, goods, capital, data and ideas but also infections, diseases and pollution.
The term globalization refers to the integration of economies of the world through uninhibited trade and financial flows, as also through mutual exchange of technology and knowledge. Ideally, it also contains free inter-country movement of labor.
In context to India, this implies opening up the economy to foreign direct investment by providing facilities to foreign companies to invest in different fields of economic activity in India, removing constraints and obstacles to the entry of MNCs in India, allowing Indian companies to enter into foreign collaborations and also encouraging them to set up joint ventures abroad; carrying out massive import liberalization programs by switching over from quantitative restrictions to tariffs and import duties, therefore globalization has been identified with the policy reforms of 1991 in India.
The Important Reform Measures (Step Towards liberalization privatization and Globalization) Indian economy was in deep crisis in July 1991, when foreign currency reserves had plummeted to almost $1 billion; Inflation had roared to an annual rate of 17 percent; fiscal deficit was very high and had become unsustainable; foreign investors and NRIs had lost confidence in Indian Economy. Capital was flying out of the country and we were close to defaulting on loans.
Along with these bottlenecks at home, many unforeseeable changes swept the economies of nations in Western and Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Latin America and elsewhere, around the same time. These were the economic compulsions at home and abroad that called for a complete overhauling of our economic policies and programs. Major measures initiated as a part of the liberalization and globalization strategy in the arly nineties included the following: Devaluation: The first step towards globalization was taken with the announcement of the devaluation of Indian currency by 18-19 percent against major currencies in the international foreign exchange market. In fact, this measure was taken in order to resolve the BOP crisis Disinvestment-In order to make the process of globalization smooth, privatization and liberalization policies are moving along as well.
Under the privatization scheme, most of the public sector undertakings have been/ are being sold to private sector Dismantling of The Industrial Licensing Regime At present, only six industries are under compulsory licensing mainly on accounting of environmental safety and strategic considerations. A significantly amended locational policy in tune with the liberalized licensing policy is in place.
No industrial approval is required from the government for locations not falling within 25 kms of the periphery of cities having a population of more than one million. Allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) across a wide spectrum of industries and encouraging non-debt flows. The Department has put in place a liberal and transparent foreign investment regime where most activities are opened to foreign investment on automatic route without any limit on the extent of foreign ownership.
Some of the recent initiatives taken to further liberalize the FDI regime, inter alias, include opening up of sectors such as Insurance (upto 26%); development of integrated townships (upto 100%); defense industry (upto 26%); tea plantation (upto 100% subject to divestment of 26% within five years to FDI); enhancement of FDI limits in private sector banking, allowing FDI up to 100% under the automatic route for most manufacturing activities in SEZs; opening up B2B e-commerce; Internet Service Providers (ISPs) without Gateways; electronic mail and voice mail to 100% foreign investment subject to 26% divestment condition; etc.
The Department has also strengthened investment facilitation measures through Foreign Investment Implementation Authority (FIIA). Non Resident Indian Scheme the general policy and facilities for foreign direct investment as available to foreign investors/ Companies are fully applicable to NRIs as well. In addition, Government has extended some concessions especially for NRIs and overseas corporate bodies having more than 60% stake by NRIs Throwing Open Industries Reserved For The Public Sector to Private Participation.
Now there are only three industries reserved for the public sector Abolition of the (MRTP) Act, which necessitated prior approval for capacity expansion The removal of quantitative restrictions on imports. The reduction of the peak customs tariff from over 300 per cent prior to the 30 per cent rate that applies now.? Wide-ranging financial sector reforms in the banking, capital markets, and insurance sectors, including the deregulation of interest rates, strong regulation and supervisory systems, and the introduction of foreign/private sector competition.
Impact of Globalization of Indian Economy The novel Tale of Two Cities of Charles Dickens begins with a piquant description of the contradictions of the times: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us At the present, we can also say about the tale of two Indias: We have the best of times; we have the worst of times. There is sparkling prosperity, there is stinking poverty.
We have dazzling five star hotels side by side with darkened ill-starred hovels. We have everything by globalization, we have nothing by globalization. Though some economic reforms were introduced by the Rajiv Gandhi government (1985-89), it was the Narasimha Rao Government that gave a definite shape and start to the new economic reforms of globalization in India. Presenting the 1991-92 Budget, Finance Minister Manmohan Singh said: After four decades of planning for industrialization, we have now reached a stage where we should welcome, rather fear, foreign investment.
Direct foreign investment would provide access to capital, technology and market. In the Memorandum of Economic Policies dated August 27, 1991 to the IMF, the Finance Minister submitted in the concluding paragraph: The Government of India believes that the policies set forth in the Memorandum are adequate to achieve the objectives of the program, but will take any additional measures appropriate for this purpose. In addition, the Government will consult with the Fund on the adoption of any measures that may be appropriate in accordance with the policies of the Fund on such consultations.