From independence well until the early 1990s, Indian governments used development banking as a strategic instrument for industrialization. Since then, however, the role of traditional development banks has diminished; they either playing a low-key role or have transformed themselves into commercial entities. Alongside, there has been an emergence of a set of quasi public and large private companies taking on the task of supporting infrastructure development in India.
The paper by Prof.C. P. Chandrashekhar provides an overview of the state of development finance in India, raising critical questions of sustainability around current patterns of financing infrastructure. Cited are conflict cases that have been significant in providing a strong opposition to environmentally and socially damaging projects through civil society activism and judiciary intervention. With the preparations under way to create a BRICS development bank of the BRICS states, to which India’s expertise (and funds) will contribute, this paper is intended to inform the reader on the country’s ‘development finance’ experience.