The larger crisis that NPAs signal C. P. Chandrasekhar

Having overcome a legacy of extreme shortage of supply, India’s power sector is in the midst of a crisis with ramifications of a wholly different kind. The crisis arises because firms accounting for significant proportion of power sector assets have defaulted on their debt servicing commitments, and banks are not able to find ways of restructuring that debt or recouping their money. So the RBI’s guidelines requires that the assets should be liquidated to recover whatever is possible and compensate banks from which these firms had taken loans and then defaulted. But the assessment is that liquidation would yield the…

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…

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…

State or Market? : India’s telecom wars C.P. Chandrasekhar

As the shakeout in the Indian mobile telephony market continues, price wars are being complemented by verbal wars. The most recent spat involves the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India as well. Its latest revised tariff order has been attacked by Airtel and Vodafone (and by the Cellular Operators Association of India, or COAI) for favouring Reliance Jio, the aggressive new entrant that is seeking to get ahead of the other two, in what is clearly becoming a three-horse race in the industry. The “split” within the COAI, with long-time members and a new entrant on opposite sides, is indicative of…

The Aging of a Growth Engine C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

With the dollar value of exports declining, India’s software sector faces a historical crisis which may worsen, given the protectionist trends in the US and other uncertainties. Aging_Growth_Engine  (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on February 13, 2018)

The Airtel-Aadhaar Fix C. P. Chandrasekhar

Despite its clear violation of the law, telecom major Airtel appears to have been let off lightly by the government. And that story, though reported, has neither led to adequate punishment nor has it received the extent of media attention it deserves. The story is that Airtel used its position as a dominant mobile services provider to strengthen its new role as a “payments bank” by exploiting a loophole in a system created through the decisions of multiple agencies. The company not only opened a large number of payments bank accounts in the names of its mobile subscribers without their…

The Saudi palace coup, the oil market, China and the US Ali Kadri

Trouble has been brewing in Saudi Arabia, the jewel of the US empire, under the very eyes of the imperialists. Since circa 1980, the socially stabilising economic redistribution mechanisms, the objective pillars holding society together, were neoliberally eroded. As for the subjective grounds, or the political US-backing that the Saudi monarchy enjoys, it so happens that until about 2011, the timing of the Arab Spring, the Saudi-comprador class’ surreal social and political practice received low-key criticism. Oil_Market (Download the full text in PDF format)    

Indian IT hits a Speed Dump C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

A sharp deceleration in growth and restricted employment expansion in the IT sector, India’s post-liberalisation showpiece, has implications beyond the industry’s boundaries. Indian_IT_Speedbump (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Business Line on November 20, 2017.)

GE’s Switch Stephen Maher

The resignation of General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt last month is the latest sign of the broad restructuring of political and economic power currently underway in the United States. His departure, and John Flannery’s arrival, reveals a lot about the new phase of financialization that has emerged from the Great Financial Crisis. As financial markets and institutions became a more important part of the economy in recent decades, so too did they take on a larger role within corporations themselves, even ostensibly nonfinancial enterprises. This fundamental reorganization of corporate power eroded the institutional foundations of the New Deal’s so-called corporate…

What is really happening in Indian Manufacturing? C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh

Data on organised manufacturing production do not really capture the impact of demonetisation and its effects on demand, but looking at some sub-sectors of consumer non-durable goods provides more insight. Indian_Manufacturing (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on August 14, 2017.)