This book argues that economic development in India has been based upon the mass employment of ‘informal’ workers. This opening chapter frames India's development as a case of ‘uneven and combined development’, a radical theory that explains how India has combined many of the advanced features of global capitalism with traditional social structures of accumulation embedded in informal enterprises, migrant labour and agriculture. The chapter introduces three case studies of urban development and explains how India's transition since the 1980s – the ‘neoliberal’ era – has led to the mass employment of informal wage workers across its vast economy.