The De-digitisation of India C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Despite the government's efforts to digitise the Indian economy forcibly, non-cash forms of payment appear to have declined as more currency has been made available to the public. This points to major flaws in the government's coercive approach and the underlying rationale for cashlessness. De_Digitisation_India  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on April 24, 2017.)

Demonetisation Decoded: A critique of India’s currency experiment

“Demonetisation Decoded: A critique of India’s currency experiment”, written by Jayati Ghosh, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Prabhat Patnaik and published by Routledge India, is an important book that provides a quick and concise explanation of the goals, implications, initial effects and the political economy of the major demonetisation move of the Indian government, that involved de-recognition of over 86 per cent of the value of Indian currency in circulation in one stroke.

Budget 2017-18: The Macroeconomic Perspective C. P. Chandrasekhar

Even for those sceptical about the government’s declared policy intentions—varying from cleaning the Ganga to doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022—the subdued and insubstantial Budget 2017-18 was a surprise. The circumstances in which the Budget was presented were exceptional. In the midst of a slowdown in growth with signs of the onset of deflation[i], the government had chosen to withdraw and declare worthless more than 80 per cent of the value of currency in circulation by demonetising “higher value” notes. But new notes to replace the ones withdrawn were slow in coming and had to be rationed, because the indefensible measure…

Quarterly GDP Estimates: Curiouser and curiouser Jayati Ghosh

So maybe the demonetisation never really happened. Maybe it was all a bad dream: the late evening announcement, the subsequent cash crunch, the regulatory chaos, the deaths because people could not get medical treatment with old notes. Maybe the reporters who described all the job losses and migrant workers forced to go back home and farmers unable to get their sowing done in time and so on were all affected by a mirage. Maybe those who conducted surveys and found massive drops in sales, in consumer spending, in livelihoods of informal workers and self-employed people were similarly deluded. And of…

Budget 2017-18: Blinded by neoliberalism C. P. Chandrasekhar

In an insipid speech that was repeatedly misread, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented on 1 February the contours of a budget that was shockingly short of substance. It left disappointed those who expected that policies to compensate sections hurt by the demonetisation experiment would be included and those who were looking for some measures to counter the demand slump afflicting the economy that had been aggravated by the demonetisation. It also surprised those who thought that the budget would be forced to expand aggregate expenditure and social spending to win voter support in the elections to the five assembly elections…

In the 2017 Budget, the Government has Compounded its Folly Prabhat Patnaik

The Budget estimates, which have generally become somewhat suspect of late, are particularly meaningless in the case of the 2017-18 Budget for two obvious reasons: first, the early presentation of the Budget means the availability of that much less information for the current year, upon which the Budget is based; and second, the draconian demonetisation that has occurred, while certain to pull down the GDP growth rate (even the Economic Survey concedes that), makes any precise prediction impossible. Let us therefore look at the broad strategy of the Budget rather going into its numbers in any detail. One obvious thing that…

A Disappointingly Ordinary Budget for Extraordinary Times Jayati Ghosh

The most striking thing about Arun Jaitley’s budget presentation for 2017-18 is just how unstriking it is. A lot of was expected from this Budget, and it is largely the Government’s own fault that the expectations were so many and so contradictory. In the event, the Finance Minister has presented a very “ordinary” Budget, which is unlikely to satisfy most people who recognise that these are definitely not “ordinary” economic times. First, this Budget comes directly in the wake of demonetisation followed by painfully slow and inadequate remonetisation, which has dealt a body blow to the informal sector as well…

No Digital Base for a Cashless Economy C.P. Chandrasekhar

Prime Minister Modi is selling the idea that the engineered cash shortage that resulted from the disastrous demonetisation exercise is an opportunity to force-march India to being what is inelegantly termed a “less cash” society. In his view, that transition, if ensured, would for some inexplicable reason tame the rich and reward the poor. This new sloganeering of the Prime Minister and his government has given the “Digital India” mission a whole new dimension, with electronically-executed financial transactions and settlements becoming a means to realising larger economic and social objectives. Making this an immediate, or even medium term, objective is…

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