Growth of Real Income, Money & Prices in India 1869-2008

I have warned against a “monetary meltdown” in India for more than a decade and a half now.  I said it to Rajiv Gandhi (who listened with care and respect) and after he was gone I have said it to Government economists in India, to IMF/World Bank bureaucrats in Washington, to academic audiences in India and the UK and to India’s general newspaper reading public.

Obviously I hope such a meltdown does not come about.   But inflation, or the decline in the value of money, presently is in double-digits even by the Government’s own admission.  (As a general rule, I think the decline in the value of money has been higher by several percent than what the Government says at any given time.)  Hence I am publishing again some results of my macroeconomic research on India over the years.   You are free to use them and communicate with me about them but please acknowledge them properly and do not steal.

The first graph of 1869-2004 data was published in print to accompany my Growth and Government Delusion in The Statesman February 22, 2008; it had also accompanied other similar articles, e.g. The Dream Team: A Critique in January 2006.  The second graph of 1935-2008 data was published in print to accompany my article Indian Inflation in The Statesman of  April 22 2008.

Subroto Roy


Distribution of Govt of India Expenditure (Net of Operational Income) 1995

For more than a decade and a half now, I have been engaged in some “fundamental research” about India’s public finances.  This has involved inter alia transforming the entire set of government accounting data (both Union and all States) from their present obscurity and opaqueness to what I have called a condition of “maximum feasible transparency” (see my April 29 2000 address to the Reserve Bank’s Conference of Finance Secretaries).

Here is an example of the Union Government’s 1994-1995 expenditure (net of operational income).

It is from my unpublished ongoing research and is being released as a public service for India’s people.  Readers are welcome to use it with acknowledgement under the normal “fair use” rule.  Please try not to steal it, i.e. use it without proper acknowledgement.


Subroto Roy

see also

My father, Indian diplomat, in the Shah’s Tehran 1954-1956

See also


On the reverse of this photo is stated the date, 8 July 1955, and “the King enquiring about Indian development projects after the ceremony”.   The person he is talking to is my father, then India’s Trade Commissioner in Tehran.  The  two photos below show Mohammad Reza  Shah Pahlevi striding by a line of guests (my father is seventh from the right in the line-up) and then meeting them.

The next photo is of  Reza Shah and his Queen Soraiya Esfandiary being greeted by a senior Sikh member of the Indian community.

India’s Ambassador to Iran, Dr Tara Chand, author of History of the Freedom Movement in India, accompanies Prime Minister Hossain Ala, probably at the Indian Embassy in Tehran (there is a map of India and the figure of Mahatma Gandhi on the right).

My father with members of the Indian community in Tehran or visiting Tehran for business, including the Birlas and Hindujas etc:


One of many reasons John R Hicks was a great economist

Professor Sir John Hicks (1904-1989) was among the greatest of 20th Century economists.  I was much honoured by his letter to me of May 1 1984 sent to Blacksburg, where he acknowledged his departure in later life from the position he had taken in 1934 and 1939 on the foundations of demand theory.  (The context of our correspondence had to do with my criticism of the young Hicks and support for the ghost of Alfred Marshall.)

He later sent me a copy of his Wealth and Welfare: Collected Essays on Economic Theory, Vol. I (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1981) as a gift.

In Philosophy of Economics, I said about this “It may be a sign of the times that economists, great and small, rarely if ever disclaim their past opinions; it is therefore an especially splendid example to have a great economist like Hicks doing so in this matter.”  It was remniniscent of Gottlob Frege’s response to Russell’s paradox; Philosophy of Economics described Frege’s “Letter to Russell”, 1902 (Heijenoort, From Frege to Gödel, pp. 126-128) as  “a document which must remain one of the most noble in all of modern scholarship; a fact recorded in Russell’s letter to Heijenoort.”