Once again, the Oil Price Scare C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The news last week that prices of Brent Crude oil (which is used as a global benchmark) had crossed $80 a barrel in some markets must have created shock waves in policy circles of many countries, especially India. Many oil-importing countries had grown comfortable with – and even complacent about – the relatively low oil prices that persisted after their precipitous drop in the middle of 2014. As Chart 1 shows, average oil prices feel very sharply after June 2014, falling by 56 per cent just in the months until January 2015, and by more than 70 per cent from…

The Banking Conundrum: Non-performing assets and neo-liberal reform C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

As fiscal year 2017–18 drew to a close, the Government of India decided to bite the bullet and implement a proposal to “resolve” what was being presented as one of the leading challenges then facing the Indian economy: large non-performing assets (NPAs) on the books of the banks, especially the public sector banks (PSBs).The Recapitalisation plan, first announced in October 2017, involved infusing ‘2.11 lakh crore of new equity into the PSBs, of which ‘1,35,000 crore would be new money from the government, financed with recapitalisation bonds. Another ‘18,139 crore was the balance due under the ‘70,000 crore Indradhanush plan…

Lucrative Defaults by Hungry Corporates C.P. Chandrasekhar

The deadline for the completion of the resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 for the first set of cases taken up has neared or even passed. The IBC provides for a time limit of 180 days (extendable by 90 days) once a case of default is brought to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), following a joint decision of creditors accounting for a dominant share of claims on a company. If no resolution plan drawn up under the supervision of a resolution professional can be agreed upon, liquidation must follow to recover whatever sums are possible.…

G7 Policies and their implications for Global Stability and Growth Andrew Cornford

Comments prepared for the debate sponsored by the South Centre on Revolution Required The Ticking Time Bombs of the G7 Model, book authored by Hervé Hannoun and Peter Dittus,    Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva, 13 April 2018 For reasons explained at length by the authors the principal focus of Revolution Required (RR) is the monetary policy in the Advanced Economies (AE), which has been the main response to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This response the authors view as leading to an unsustainable increase in debt levels in the medium term and to investment which may not be viable…

Leapfrogging into services C. P. Chandrasekhar

By passing full-fledged industrialisation and depending on services for growth is not a bad idea says the International Monetary Fund. In the April 2018 edition of its World Economic Outlook, the IMF has endorsed a trajectory that India is known to have pursued in recent years. Characterised by an unusual process of structural transformation, that trajectory involves an early turn to services when the share of agriculture in aggregate output and employment declines with development. This contrasts with the traditional turn to manufacturing at relatively low levels of per capita income. In an India-type process, services rather than manufacturing would…

Plurality in Teaching Macroeconomics Rohit Azad

For vibrant policy making, an open-minded academic engagement between contrasting viewpoints is needed in macroeconomic education. However, there does not even exist a textbook that contrasts these contesting ideas in a tractable manner. This pedagogical paper is an attempt to plug that gap by presenting a comparative study across different traditions in macroeconomics in a unified framework, which can be developed into a semester-long intermediate-level course. Plurality_Teaching_Macroeconomics  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Economic & Political Weekly on March 30, 2018.)  

The Prospect of Food Shortage Prabhat Patnaik

Orthodox economics has for long been haunted by the prospect that the growth in foodgrains output in the world economy would not be sufficiently high to sustain the growing population of the world. Malthus was an early exponent of this fear. Keynes too subscribed to the view that unless the poor countries somehow ensured that their population growth was controlled, there would be a food shortage in the world economy, of which growing poverty would be a symptom. This view of course was the product of an intellectual ethos which saw poverty as a consequence of excessive breeding, rather than…

When Business Turns ‘Easy’ C.P. Chandrasekhar

Its once again a time for exposés of big ticket scams. The headline hogger currently is the alleged huge Rs. 11,400 crore ‘scam’ unearthed in transactions through the Punjab National Bank (PNB) involving diamond merchants Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. That this is not an isolated occurrence is established by news of another Rs. 3,700 crore alleged fraud involving Vikram Kothari of Rotomac Pens being reported almost simultaneously. The full details of the possible fraud in either of these cases is yet to emerge. But underlying them is the suspicion that loans or guarantees of huge magnitudes were offered to…

National Income in India: What’s really growing? Jayati Ghosh

Recent income growth in India has been dominated by sectors that do not reflect real physical output increases – such as finance, insurance and real estate and public administration and defence.   National_Income  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on February 27, 2018.)

Can Banking Recover? Jayati Ghosh

The bank frauds involving Punjab National Bank (PNB) and the companies associated with businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi as well as the Rotomac case couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Indian banking system is already reeling under the pressure of growing NPAs, or non-performing assets (less politely known as loans that are not going to be repaid), which will touch nearly ₹10 lakh crore by March this year. This does not include the ₹6 lakh crore already written-off. This has already caused a slowdown in disbursal of bank credit, in turn affecting productive investment. Failure at many…