GST: One more NDA failure C. P. Chandrasekhar

July 2018 marks the first month of the second year in which the much-heralded Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime has been in place. When launched 13 moths earlier, in a propaganda blitz that (wrongly) claimed that this “one nation, one tax” system was a game-changer, the government had promised that the new regime would help the Centre and the states to efficiently mobilise the resources needed to put India on a high growth trajectory. In fact, demonetisation and the GST regime were presented as the two initiatives of the Modi government that would transform India. Demonetisation, as the government’s…

The Indian Economy in A Tailspin Prabhat Patnaik

The Indian economy is in a tailspin. This cannot be attributed only to innocence in economic matters of the command-centre of the NDA government. While that is indubitably a contributing factor, the current travails of the economy point to something deeper, namely the dead-end to which neo-liberalism has brought the economy. Without moving away from the neo-liberal trajectory, the economy cannot come out of its current difficulties. India’s success in raising the GDP growth rate, the main selling point for the neo-liberal regime, was, unlike China’s, built upon the quicksand of a persistent trade and current account deficit on the…

Whither Indian Economy? Sunanda Sen

Growing concerns on the current state of the Indian economy, which have been met with responses filled with assurances and proposals from official circles for remedial actions on part make it urgent to delve into the issues which spell out the reality. Apprehensions relating to the economy are at the moment centred on further escalations in the high prices, of fuel and other goods in the domestic market, affecting the daily lives of people. As is generally held, the major reasons behind this include the rising dollar price of crude oil in international market and the steady declines in the…

Global Instability and the Development Project: Is the Twenty-First Century different? Jayati Ghosh

GLOBAL CAPITALISM TODAY: UNSTABLE, MORIBUND, OR JUST RESTING? Ever since the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, the trajectory of the world economy has been hesitant, unstable and prone to many risks. Output recovery has been limited and fragile; and, more significantly, even in the more dynamic economies, it has not increased good-quality employment or reduced inequality and material insecurity. Global capitalism as an economic regime is increasingly unable to deliver on its own promise of continuous expansion within a largely stable society. Even so, discussions of the ‘end’ of capitalism still typically seem overstated and futile, not least because those…

RCEP Deal can be disastrous for India Biswajit Dhar

Trade ministers of 16 countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) met for their crucial sixth meeting in Singapore in end-August, in an effort to create by far the largest economic integration agreement. The joint media statement issued at the end of the ministerial meeting provides some key pointers to where the negotiations are headed. The statement mentions that the ministers exchanged views on the next steps toward the conclusion of negotiations and that they adopted a package of deliverables. Although the contents of the package are under wraps, the statement says that the ministers instructed their negotiators to…

Who’s manipulating China’s exchange rate? C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

A favourite trope of Northern economic policy makers – especially those in the United States – is that China systematically manipulates the exchange rate of the RenMinBi to ensure greater external competitiveness, and that this amounts to an unfair trade practice. While this has been a complaint of the US government for some years now, President Trump of the US has become a particularly strong advocate of this theory. Most recently, the recent (slight) depreciation of the Chinese RenMinBi (RMB or Yuan) relative to the US dollar has been met with howls of protest from Mr Trump and his trade…

Women’s work in India Jayati Ghosh

One of the difficulties with discussions on employment in India is the tendency to conflate employment and work. But employment is only that part of work that is remunerated, and in India a vast amount of work is actually unpaid and often not even socially recognised. Once we recognise that, a lot of what appears to be inexplicable about Indian employment trends becomes easier to understand. This is especially true of women’s work. There has been much discussion on the evidence from recent NSS large sample surveys on employment, of the significant decline in women’s workforce participation rates. The work…

India’s Electronics Manufacturing Sector: Getting the Diagnosis Right Smitha Francis

The Indian government has announced several policy measures aimed at promoting domestic electronics manufacturing as part of its “Make in India” initiative (2014). A casualty of incoherent policy regimes for nearly three decades, the electronics industry appears to be receiving some focused attention. The efforts began after the National Policy on Electronics (NPE), drafted by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) in 2012, highlighted the abysmally low level of value addition in domestically produced electronic products, which ranged just between 5% and 10% in most cases at the time (NPE 2012). Instead, electronics manufacturers appear to prefer importing…

Changes in the Structure of Employment in India Yoshifumi Usami and Vikas Rawal

Slow growth of employment has been a remarkable feature of economic change in India during the post-liberalisation period. Economic growth over this period has been highly uneven across different sectors and regions. The rate of growth of agriculture and manufacturing sectors has been sluggish for most part of the postliberalisation period. Growth, even in periods during which it increased, was driven primarily by the service sector. It has been primarily located in urban, particularly metropolitan, areas. Trade and foreign investment have played only a marginal role as drivers of economic expansion. Benefits of economic growth have accrued differently across classes,…

Factory workers in India C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Recent data from the Annual Survey of Industries, covering up to 2015-16, provide some interesting insights into the changing nature of industrial employment in India. In the decade up to 2015-16, there was a significant increase in the number of factory workers, by around 40 per cent. This expansion can be dated from around 2005-06 onwards and especially up to 2011-12. This is to be expected, given that that was the period of India’s economic boom, in which both construction and manufacturing industry showed higher rates of investment and output growth. While the aggregate numbers still remain low for an…