CHAPTER-2 Indian Economy-Goals, Features, Problems and Policies

2.1  Introduction

Inaugurating its independence on the 15th of August, 1947, India confronted a critical task – determining the most appropriate economic system for the nation. The primary objective was to establish a system that would prioritize the well-being of the entire populace rather than benefiting only a select few.

In the realm of economics, all nations are compelled to make certain fundamental decisions:

(a) The selection of production: This pertains to determining what types of goods and services should be manufactured or provided.

(b) The selection of technology: This involves the decision regarding the most suitable production techniques, such as labor-intensive or capital-intensive methods, to be employed in the creation of goods and services.

(c) The distribution of goods and services: This refers to the strategies and mechanisms for allocating goods and services among the population.


An economic system can be described as the framework through which a society addresses the fundamental questions related to its economy. These questions revolve around what to produce, how to produce, and for whom to produce. Different economic systems exist, but the three primary types are:

Capitalist Economy:

In a capitalist system, the allocation of resources and economic decision-making is primarily guided by market forces, specifically the interaction of supply and demand. Private individuals or entities own the factors of production, which include land, labor, and capital. Competition is a key feature, and individuals are motivated by the pursuit of profit. The price mechanism, driven by supply and demand, plays a crucial role in resource allocation. Government intervention is typically minimal or absent. This system is often referred to as a free-market economy or laissez-faire economy. In this system, consumers have the freedom to choose what they wish to consume, producers have the autonomy to produce goods and services, and laborers can select their occupations. Factors of production naturally shift from less profitable to more profitable areas. Producers aim to meet high-demand products that yield greater profits, using cost-efficient production techniques.

Merits: Capitalism encourages self-interest and promotes economic growth.

Demerits: It can lead to income inequality and leave vulnerable populations subject to market uncertainties, resulting in a wealth gap.

Socialist Economy:

In a socialist system, economic planning or government plays a central role in solving the economy’s fundamental problems. The government makes key economic decisions, and all factors of production are owned by the state. The primary motive of this system is to advance social welfare. This is often called a centrally planned economy. While individuals and entities have some degree of freedom, it is controlled within certain limits. Planning authorities determine what to produce and which production methods to employ, thus directly addressing the central economic questions.

Merits: Socialism ensures that economic decisions are made with the collective interest of society in mind, striving for social equality and justice.

Demerits: Consumer choice may be limited, there is less incentive for individual effort, and private property accumulation may not be permitted.

Mixed Economy:

A mixed economy combines elements of both government planning and market forces. It addresses the central economic problems through a combination of public and private sector involvement. The government or central planning authority makes decisions, especially concerning the public sector, while the private sector operates based on market mechanisms, driven by supply and demand. The central planning authority aims to maximize social welfare, while market forces focus on individual profit maximization.

Merits: This system offers consumers a choice, enhances consumer welfare, permits private ownership of production factors, promotes self-interest, and encourages economic growth. It also allows for state participation in economic growth and strives for equality and social justice.

Demerits: In the public sector, inefficiency and corruption can emerge due to a lack of accountability and efficiency, often leading to privatization efforts.

In summary, an economic system is the framework by which a society addresses its economic challenges, and the three primary types are capitalism, socialism, and mixed economies, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Table 2.1 Features of Three Economic Systems

FeaturesCapitalismSocialismMixed Economy
1. Ownership of PropertyPrivate ownershipPublic ownershipBoth public and private ownership
2. Freedom of enterpiseExistsNo freedomFreedom in private sector but no freedom in public sector
3. Motive of productionProfit motiveSocial welfareProfit motive in private sector and welfare motive in public sector
4. Who governs productionPrice mechanismPlanningmechanismBoth price mechanism and planning mechanism
5. CompetitionExistsNo competitionExists only in private sector
6. Distribution of incomeVery unequalQuite equalConsiderable inequalities exist
7. Role ofNo roleComplete roleFull role in public sector
governmentand limited role in
private sector

Objective Type Questions

1.What is the primary driving force in a capitalist economy?
A. Government planning B. Market forces C. Social welfare D. Central authority
Answer: B. Market forces

2.In a socialist economy, who owns the factors of production?
A. Private individuals B. Government C. Corporations D. Foreign investors
Answer: B. Government

3.Which economic system is often referred to as a centrally planned economy?
A. Capitalism B. Mixed economy C. Socialism D. Market economy
Answer: C. Socialism

4.In a mixed economy, what guides decision-making in the private sector?
A. Government central planning B. Profit maximization C. Social welfare D. Consumer choice
Answer: B. Profit maximization

5.What is a key feature of a capitalist economy?
A. Limited government intervention
B. Equal distribution of wealth
C. State ownership of all resources
D. Collective decision-making
Answer: A. Limited government intervention

6.In a socialist economy, what is the primary motive behind economic decisions?
A. Individual profit B. Market competition C. Social welfare D. Consumer choice
Answer: C. Social welfare

7.Which economic system combines both government planning and market forces?
A. Capitalism B. Socialism C. Mixed economy D. Command economy
Answer: C. Mixed economy

8.What is a significant merit of a mixed economic system?
A. Minimal government involvement
B. Strong incentive for private property accumulation
C. Promotion of self-interest
D. Accountability and efficiency in the public sector
Answer: D. Accountability and efficiency in the public sector

9.In a capitalist economy, what determines the allocation of resources?
A. Government planning B. Central authority C. Supply and demand D. Collective decision-making
Answer: C. Supply and demand

10.What potential drawback is associated with socialism?
A. Income inequality
B. Minimal government role
C. Strong consumer choice
D. Promotion of individual profit
Answer: A. Income inequality

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