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The known Economic history of India begins with the Indus Valley civilization. The Indus civilization's economy appears to have depended significantly on trade, which was facilitated by advances in transport. Around 600 BC, the Mahajanapadas minted punch-marked silver coins. The period was marked by intensive trade activity and urban development. By 300 B.C., the Maurya Empire united most of the Indian subcontinent. The political unity and military security allowed for a common economic system and enhanced trade and commerce, with increased agricultural productivity.

For the next 1500 years, India produced its classical civilisations such as the Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas and Western Gangas. During this period India is estimated to have had the largest economy of the ancient and medieval world between until 17th century AD, controlling between one third and one fourth of the world's wealth up to the time of Maratha Empire, from whence it rapidly declined during European colonization.

According to economic historian Angus Maddison in his book The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, India was the richest country in the world and had the world's largest economy until the 17th century AD.

India has followed central planning for most of its independent history, which have included extensive public ownership, regulation, red tape, and trade barriers. After the 1991 economic crisis, the central government launched economic liberalisation. India has turned towards a more capitalist system and has emerged as one of the fastest growing large economies of the world.


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