India, the second most populous nation in the world today is also among the largest economies of the world. It is, however, also among the poorest nations in terms of per capita income. It is estimated that one out of every third poor person in the world lives in India. The challenge for policy makers at the national and international level continues to be the design policies that will eradicate poverty. The development strategies that were followed in India since the beginning of the five-year plans in the early 1950s aimed at achieving higher standards of living for the population with equity and speed. Although some distinctions could be made in terms of emphasis and choice of instruments, over the period of four decades since 1950, the overall strategy of achieving economic growth through rapid industrialization is evident. Prominence to public sector enterprises and import substitution were partly a result of poor state of institutional infrastructure for mobilization of resources for industrialization and the experience of colonial rule, which preceded the post-independence development effort. The outcome of overall development effort does not compare favorably with the experience of several other economies, which in general followed an export-oriented strategy. The differences in outcome are not merely in terms of per capita income, but also in terms of other indicators of human development. The comparative experience of different economies provides a yet another basis for reforms in policies to pursue the original goals of achieving higher standards of living for the population as rapidly as possible. 1