Where’s the Money, Mr Jaitley? Jayati Ghosh

This government is especially good at optics, at managing public perceptions to persuade people that it is working for them, rather than doing so. So it is no surprise that Arun Jaitley’s pre-election Budget Speech went on about how much his government cares for the people, the poor, for farmers, for women, for people running small and micro enterprises, and so on. Many major claims were made: not just about the recent past, but about the coming fiscal year, with supposedly massive increases in public spending that would be directed towards these hitherto-ignored categories of people. But the actual increases…

Did the FM deliver for Farmers? Jayati Ghosh

For those with short memories, let’s remind ourselves that Arun Jaitley has been promising “top priority to farmers” for a while now. Indeed, this government came to power in 2014 promising to double farmers’ incomes in five years. Four years later, that goal post has been shifted, with all official documents now declaring that farmers’ incomes will be doubled by 2022, as per a “clarion call” given by Prime Minister Modi supposedly in 2017.  In fact, in Budget 2016-17, the Finance Minister had already announced a slew of measures that were supposed to double farmers’ incomes in five years, to…

The Financialization of Finance? Demonetization and the Dubious Push to Cashlessness in India C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

This Debate contribution describes the promotion of digital rather than cash payments as a form of the financialization of finance, in its role as a payments system, with reference to recent Indian experience. The obsession with digital transactions as a marker of social and material progress is misplaced; it may become yet another means by which finance extracts rentier incomes out of relatively poor populations. Financialisation_Finance (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Wiley Online Library)

Window Dressing Budgetary Figures C.P. Chandrasekhar

The tendency of the current government to misinform and conceal is well known. Yet its periodic resort to such practices does not fail to surprise. The most recent example is the decision to sell its shareholding in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), which it owns, ostensibly to strengthen the latter. The decision comes at a time when low oil prices have hurt the ONGC. Yet, the ONGC board has cleared the proposal to buy 778,845,375 equity shares in HPCL for cash at a price of Rs. 473.97 per share. This acquisition of…

The Financialization of Everything Servaas Storm

The following article forms the Introduction to a set of 10 articles which assess the logic and consequences of ‘financialization’ across a range of geographic, economic and social scales — deep down, at the level of ‘ideas’, and also by providing ‘knock-out evidence’ on the social inefficiency of a capitalism ‘without compulsions’ for finance. The authors in the Debate expose how establishment economics has been hiding its reactionary political agenda behind the pretence of scientific neutrality. The financial emperor wears no clothes. Full Article (This article was originally posted at Wiley Online Library on January 24, 2018.)

Public Banks: Dressing up for the market C. P. Chandrasekhar

When the government presented its third supplementary demand for grants to the winter session of parliament, the list of expenditures included Rs. 80,000 crore for a first tranche investment in equity of the public sector banks to recapitalize them. This was a clear declaration that the government intended to go through with its plan to provide as much Rs. 1.35 lakh crore from its budget to recapitalize banks that are recording losses, as they recognize and provide for non-performing assets accumulated substantially from debt provided to a few large corporates. The recapitalisation plan announced in October 2017 promises to infuse…

The other face of Private Banking C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Private banks, especially foreign ones have relied on off-balance sheet liabilities to earn revenues and profits, courting risk and leaving the business of banking proper largely to the public sector banks. Other_Face_Private_Banking  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on January 15, 2018)      

Financialisation and Corporate Investments: The Indian Case Sunanda Sen and Zico Dasgupta

Financialisation creates space for transactions in the financial sector of economies, and, in doing so, helps to raise the share of financial assets in the portfolios held by market participants. Largely driven by deregulation, the process works to make financial assets relatively attractive as compared to other assets, by offering both better returns and potential capital gains. Against the backdrop of the prevailing analysis of corporate investments under financialisation in the advanced economies, this paper attempts to analyse the pattern of investment by corporates in an emerging economy like India during the 2000s. By analysing the sources and the use…

A Year of Wilful Economic Disaster Prabhat Patnaik

The uniqueness of 2017 lies in the fact that never before has the country seen a government-caused economic crisis as serious as was witnessed in this year. There have certainly been worse years for the people, such as 1965-66, 1966-67, and 1973-74, each of which saw massive inflation. But these were years when economic hardships occurred for reasons that had nothing to do proximately with government policy. 1965-66 and 1966-67 when the “Bihar famine” had occurred, had seen a sharp drop in food grains output, a drop that had lasted two years. The probability of such an event, statisticians told…

The Demise of Bank Credit C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Growing economies generally show increasing deployment of bank credit – but in India this has been decreasing for years and recently has been almost flat. What does this suggest about the growth process and the health of the Indian economy. Bank_Credit  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Business Line on 1 January 2018.)