They tended to face an unending period of scarcity of essential consumption goods and inputs. Sheltered domestic markets discouraged any improvement in product-quality or reduction in production costs.
The programme of IMS was almost always implemented through inefficient bureaucracy and public sector undertakings.
Consequently, hardly any attention was paid to the cost of the programme. In several cases, the cost of imported inputs exceeded the value of even the final output.
Countries pursuing IMS found that while their import bill was increasing, their export earnings were lagging behind. In the process, they also suffered from deterioration in their balance of payments and terms of trade.
Most of them also suffered from a poor rate of growth in their per capita incomes. In contrast, countries relying upon export promotion did much better and recorded higher growth rates.
The countries pursuing IMS also tended to neglect agriculture and other primary sectors with resultant problems of food scarcity, health care and the like.
Their experience with tackling the problem of unemployment was also a depressing one. Their industrial sectors could not cope with increasing migration of labour from rural areas and quality of life in urban areas deteriorated.
For a whole generation of Indians, the first three decades after 1947 were like a bad dream no one wanted to remember.