Overall, has India's new economy been a success, and how has it impacted different groups within Indian society?
I think that the answer is complex and, at times, muddled. Simply put, India's economy is still in such a fluid and vibrant situation that full results are waiting to be seen. There are some realities that can be addressed which can help better understand strengths and weaknesses of one of the most intense economic changes over the last decade and a half.
Certainlyy, there is more consumer spending in India's new economy. Liberalization of economic policy, embrace of globalization and capitalism, and the "call center" boom of the early 2000s have helped transform much of India's economy. More people have more opportunities for more wealth. Government took a more laissez faire approach to economic growth during this time. The result was an economic expansion that was unprecedented in Modern India. Just a few years ago, India's annual growth rate was near 10 percent. New revenue streams had been made in more parts of the nation and the engagement and immersion in international trade had helped to make the country one of the most vibrant players on the world stage. Millions have been moved out of poverty, able to find jobs and create opportunities for themselves where there might not have been opportunities present. Conditions of caste and gender have seen improvement, as individuals who might have been previously limited by both are finding new economic opportunities. By these standards, India's new economy can be seen as a success.
There are some cracks in this vision, though. Annual growth has become sluggish over the last two to three years. There has been less investment of effort and money in domestic industrial growth and even agricultural modernization. The global slowdown has impacted India in a brutal manner, causing economic contraction in many sectors and a lack of a viable "Plan B." The recent devauling of the Rupee against international currencies like the US Dollar is refelective of a current economic condition where flaws are becoming evident. Along these lines are more structural issues regarding India's new economy. The growth in the Indian economy has been consolidated in the urban centers. India's rural areas are still not flourishing as much as they should. The rural condition in India has not been substantiated and reinforced. Individuals living in these areas have not experienced the globalization and progress that so much of India claims to have experienced. Given the fact that about 2/3 of the nation is rural, this has to weigh heavily on whether the economic growth and change has been fully successful. The dependence on foreign capital investment, and its receding have left India looking for an economic dance partner without any takers. This helps to make for a challenging economic situation. Finally, during the period of economic growth, India did not make adequate improvements to its infrastructure, a fact that is now weighing heavily given the economic slowdown. In this light, one has to refrain from making any judgment about the success of India's new economy. If it can weather this storm and emerge stronger, a more positive case for its success can be made. If it cannot, its economic advancement would only be seen as a temporary one.