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Vishu Solanki ‘17

“India’s Black Economy: Origins, Obstacles & Opportunities”

Major/ minor: ­ Economics(Major), Sociology (Minor)  
Hometown: Delran, NJ
Project Advisor: Dr. James P. West

Briefly describe your project.

This project examined and investigated this large “black money” market in India. The different areas of India’s black economy which were targeted were the origins, the obstacles, and the opportunities. India is facing many obstacles in today’s world. The project took a look at these obstacles and connected how they relate back to India’s black economy. In addition, the opportunities which arise, or disappear from the presence of such a large black economy were examined. This included taking a look at the positives and negatives through previous crises which have occurred. It also included opportunities which can arise if India didn’t have such a large black economy.

Ultimately, all different areas of India’s black economy were thoroughly researched and examined. The different areas were connected to one another and suggestions were made according to the findings. The project showed how India may have the tools to drastically improve the country, if this black economy or corruption minimized.

Why did you decide to turn your idea into a SOAR project?

I pitched the idea to Dr. West after doing a brief current events presentation for my Macroeconomics class taught by Dr. Stahnke. The topic seemed very interesting to me and I wanted to research it, in greater detail.

How did your faculty advisor guide you through your research?                                                     

The best part about working with Dr. West is that he is very knowledgeable about the subject of Economics. He worked in India for quite some time, so he has a plethora of knowledge on India’s Economy as well. He guided me in the right direction and helped me in regards to any questions which came up. He is also very kind and has a great sense of humor, which made our meetings and research very fun.

What has been your biggest obstacle so far?

The biggest obstacle so far has been organizing my thoughts for my research paper. I have written multiple drafts already and am still currently working on it. I read a great deal of books, but being able to narrow down the bibliography and cut out irrelevant information is a challenge at first, as I don’t want to leave out anything important by mistake. Dr. West has helped me with this and my paper has surely been coming along.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

My biggest takeaway from this experience has been that I enjoy research. It is a long process indeed, but it is surely a worthwhile ride. Having a set work ethic on tackling such a fascinating topic was surely a rewarding experience. Nothing comes overnight, but over the course of months making progress is rewarding just like anything else in life.

What was the result of your project?

The result of my project involved finding very interesting information. I realized it is a very complex topic, which is under-researched. Additionally, the economic potential of India, if this corruption were to minimize, is endless.                

Will you expand on your research after this summer is over? If so, where would you like to see it go?

Yes, I plan to expand on my research. I would like to co­write a paper with Dr. West about the “BRICS” nations’, as he researched that over the summer. I would like to particularly focus on India’s relevance amongst such nations.

In your own words, how do you feel about being awarded this opportunity?

I feel blessed to have been awarded this opportunity. It was honestly such an enriching experience and I am very fortunate I was able to receive a grant to conduct this research project, with such a great mentor. All other students should take advantage of the SOAR program at Moravian College because they will learn a lot about themselves, in addition to doing such great work for their given topic. This past summer, was one of the best of my life. The SOAR faculty did a great job and had many social events for us to attend. Ultimately, I highly recommend this to all students. I am glad I took part in such a unique experience and I guarantee you will also.