Mixed Economy in India – All you need to know

01 August 2023
4 min read
Mixed Economy in India – All you need to know
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When it comes to economic governance, sometimes governments choose to take center stage while other times private enterprises play a leading role. India, with its diverse economic landscape, has embraced a unique blend of both.

Curious about how this works? Read on to learn how this system drives progress and development in our country!

What is a Mixed Economy?

A mixed economy combines the characteristics of capitalism and socialism. In such an economy, public and private sectors both exist, each aiming at different objectives.

Private enterprises focus on making profits, while the government sector works to benefit the citizens. This coexistence of different entities helps accelerate a country's economic growth.

What Type of Economy is India?

During India's imperial rule, the economy faced stagnation, prompting the adoption of new policies to encourage scientific, industrial, and technological advancements.

In 1948 and 1956, the implementation of several industrial policies led to a shift towards a mixed economy. In this approach, private enterprises operate independently but are guided by mechanisms set by the government, ensuring they are not entirely free from governance.

The liberalisation of India's economy in 1991 gave the private sector a significant boost, accelerating its momentum.

These three pivotal economic milestones propelled India's GDP from a modest 2.7 lakh crore at the time of Independence to becoming one of the world's largest economies.

Characteristics of India’s Mixed Economy

Features of the mixed economy in India include -

  • Controlled But Free Economic Development with 

In a mixed economy, the Government encourages free economic activities while simultaneously implementing necessary controls to avoid downsides of other economic systems.

  • Prioritisation of Citizen Welfare

India's mixed economy emphasises economic welfare. Fiscal and monetary policies urge private entities to contribute towards the larger economic welfare, while the public sector provides employment opportunities. It also implements price policies that prioritise economic welfare over profit maximisation.

  • Economic Planning

The Government undertakes economic planning and implements measures and policies. Both public and private sectors operate according to predetermined guidelines, promoting coordinated development.

  • Price Regulation

The Government has the authority to exercise price control and regulation. In normal circumstances, it allows industries to freely determine prices, but in emergencies, it can impose controls and distribute goods via the Public Distribution System (PDS).

  • Co-existence of Private and Public Sectors

As mentioned earlier, a highlighting characteristic of a mixed economy is the presence of both private and public sectors. To elaborate, heavy industries like atomic energy and defence equipment come under the purview of the public sector. 

The private sector includes agriculture, smaller enterprises, cottage industries, and consumer goods. Moreover, the Government of India also assists in the operations and growth of this private sector.

You may also want to know How Stock Market Affects Economy

Merits of a Mixed Economy

There are several advantages of a mixed economy. These include -

  • Freedom

India's mixed economy offers freedom to economic units, allowing factors of production to choose their occupations, encouraging private enterprise initiatives, and enabling consumers to dispose of their incomes within established policies.

  • Welfare

The Government works for citizen welfare, ensuring workers' welfare through provisions for housing, minimum wages, proper working conditions etc.

  • Resource Allocation

A mixed economic system allows the optimum utilisation of resources. It optimally utilises resources through economic planning to avoid shortages, fluctuations, and increase production efficiency.

Downsides of a Mixed Economy

Like any other economic system, a mixed economy has its downsides. Some of these are -

  • Inefficiency

The public sector may sometimes underperform due to discrimination, corruption, and processing delays. Excessive control can hinder the private sector's performance. Private enterprises may also face the threat of nationalisation.

  • Ineffectiveness

Stringent control can adversely affect private enterprises despite developmental opportunities given to them.

  • Concentration of Economic Power

The mixed economy aims to avoid concentration of economic power, but in practice, private businesses may exploit government policies for wealth accumulation, making it challenging to prevent such economic concentration.

Conclusion

India's mixed economy combines capitalist and socialist principles, with both public and private sectors coexisting. The economy's milestones since independence reflect its efficacy, witnessing substantial growth.

Industries like petroleum, coal, and power generation remain predominantly public, while other sectors engage private enterprises. Though advantageous, the system also faces challenges, like inefficiency and concentration of economic power. Nevertheless, India's mixed economy continues to shape a dynamic economic landscape, emphasising inclusive growth and adapting to changing times.

With its resilience and adaptability, it remains a vital driver of progress, promoting collective development for the nation.

Disclaimer: This blog is solely for educational purposes.

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