Book review: V. Srinivas, India’s Relations with the International Monetary Fund: 25 Years in Perspective 1991–2016

Published date01 September 2022
Date01 September 2022
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
V. Srinivas, India’s Relations with the International Monetary Fund: 25
Years in Perspective 1991–2016, New Delhi: Vij Books and Indian Council
of World Affairs, XIV+260 pp., `995.00. ISBN: 978-93-88161-62-6
Before I started to review Shri V. Srinivas’ scholarly and well researched book on
India’s Relations with the International Monetary Fund: 25 Years in Perspective
1991–2016, I must frankly confess that as a political scientist, I too had viewed
International Monetary Fund (IMF) with suspicion in my younger years,
perceiving it to be a ‘rich man’s club’, infamous for its ‘conditional’ aid to poor
countries. This narrative had become even more vocal after 1991 when India
pledged gold to manage her ‘balance of payments’ crisis and IMF gave its
endorsement. The fact that by 2008, India was ready to buy IMF gold went largely
unnoticed by the Indian public because media’s earlier narrative of IMF
‘exploiting’ poor countries through its pro-globalisation policies is what had come
to stay in the public mind. Popular perceptions in India die hard, therefore a book
like this was long overdue to place objective facts in the public domain about
India–IMF relations, both for scholars and the general public, if the older narrative
had to change for a balance.
So, it was with a degree of curiosity that I started reading Srinivas’ book. By
the time I nished reading, I was amazed at the overwhelming wealth of evidence
before me, enough to dispel my home-grown myths. I did not know that IMF as
an institution had grown, changed and evolved so much with time! It has come to
be much more democratised today through its growing developing country
memberships, as also by its internal debates led by visiting Finance Ministers,
Governors of Banks and other outstanding economists among its staff, who,
sometimes with contrarian views, unknowingly perhaps, act as spokespersons of
the developing world!
The book has thirteen chapters including the concluding one. Chapter 1 deals
with the evolution of the IMF for promotion and maintenance of monetary and
nancial stability in individual countries and at the global level. This chapter also
provides an introduction to the mandate and functions of the IMF as a lender of
the last resort in handling intra-state economic crises. We all know that India is
one of the founding members of the UN, but how many of us know that India is
an original member of the IMF too and that we have always received support from
this body. As a member of G-20 and G-24 groups with a chair at the IMF since
1944, India’s contribution to the IMF has been very substantive. India is active
and vocal in its support for African member-states in the IMF Board, we have
acted as a bridge between the G-7 member-countries and the emerging market
Indian Journal of Public
68(3) 504–518, 2022
© 2022 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561221090788

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