Luis Miranda in his Forbes blogpost talks about all that made economic reforms possible in India in 1991.
He writes ".....Most Indians today do not remember what life was like under a socialistic regime – half the country was not even born by then! Some of them are disillusioned with the semi-capitalistic society we live in today … a world where we have more economic freedom, where consumers have choice (do you remember the Bajaj scooter, HMT watch, Ambassador and Fiat cars, Indian Airlines and the waiting period to get a telephone or gas connection?), where entrepreneurs and employees have legally made wealth way beyond their dreams, where most of the poor are better off and where India is globally treated as a super power. Instead, the media focuses on inequality and corruption, and we forget how far we have travelled since 1991."
He points to 4 key takeaways from engaging panel discussion with Jairam Ramesh (former Minister of Rural Development, Government of India), Arvind Virmani (economist and former bureaucrat), Didar Singh (secretary general, FICCI) and Praveen Chakravarty (Visiting Fellow, IDFC Institute) on what push and pull factors made possible for the economic reforms to be implemented in India in 1991.
The lessons from India's past indicate that ".....Unless we have a crisis, we won’t see big bang reforms. We will have a lot of incremental reforms that are politically palatable. Policy change involves a lot of back room influencing, where mere rationality is not necessarily relevant....."
Read more about the history of reforms in India in the article here