Book Review: ‘India Unmade: How The Modi Government Broke The Economy’ by Yashwant Sinha & Aditya Sinha (ISBN 9789386228864, HB, £21.99)

India’s Juggernaut Press have kick-started 2019 in assertive fashion with India Unmade: How The Modi Government Broke The Economy a bold and confrontational indictment of the administration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Title – India Unmade: How The Modi Government Broke The Economy​

Author – Yashwant Sinha & Aditya Sinha​

ISBN – 9789386228864​

Price – £21.99

What Is The Book About?

Narendra Modi is a controversial figure in India. Following his election in 2014 he was seen by many as a kind of Indian Tony Blair, a unity figure with positive economic policies to spearhead India’s recovery from the 2008 global recession. Four years later and Modi’s legacy is ambivalent. His government has been dogged by corruption scandals and – perhaps more seriously – is now under fire from some of its previously staunchest supporters.

Former government minister Yashwant Sinha is one such person. Having previously played a key role in getting Modi elected in 2014, he now holds no punches in his devastating critique of the Modi government’s economic policies.

Sinha paints a grim picture of a modern India in the grip of stagnation; lacking adequate construction controls, with poor public transport infrastructure, runaway air pollution, unmanageable traffic, corrupt local authorities and endemic unemployment, all of which are true and still a challenge to any government.

The author’s primary criticism is of the Modi government decision to de-monetise the Indian currency in November 2016, which Sinha describes as a ‘whimsical decision’ and a ‘catastrophe’. With venomous and entertaining prose, Sinha goes on to lay into the government’s industrial policy, which he describes as encouraging malaise in the economy.

Critical scrutiny is also given to the Modi government’s record for honest reporting. According to Sinha, Indian unemployment figures have been fudged by excluding workers in the informal economy. These include poorly and irregularly paid rickshaw drivers, street food sellers and cleaners, millions of whom live below the poverty line.

The government’s official growth figures – of 7.35% each year since 2014 – have also been falsified, according to Sinha. The author questions where this growth has occurred, in the absence of government investment, and in the face of stagnation in the agricultural and industrial sectors. Tax revenue is also down, despite the tax base being theoretically raised – a direct result of the Modi government’s alleged economic mismanagement over the past four years.

Who Will Enjoy This Book?

Sinha’s abrasive polemic against the Modi government will no doubt have wide popular appeal in India among the government’s opponents. The written style is harsh and unrelenting but also balanced in its arguments. Readers who enjoy a good political takedown will probably enjoy this book, as will students of contemporary Indian and Asian politics. However, the fact is that Modi is incredibly popular with the majority, as can be seen in the 2019 election results.

Quality Indian Books From Motilal Books

Juggernaut Press is one of the most dynamic of India’s independent publishers. Every year it publishes a wide range of political and social works, alongside other genres from self-help to science-fiction. We stock all titles by Juggernaut Press, including all the new releases, so please click here to check our current availability. To place an order of India Unmade for your home, college or library, please call 01727 761 677.