The central government’s policy favouring bank mergers assumes enhanced efficiency of the merged banks through economies of scale and scope. An econometric analysis of India’s scheduled commercial banks, however, establishes that in the Indian banking sector, mergers may actually be detrimental to efficiency. This paper argues that public sector banks were set up to serve the welfare needs of the underprivileged and to promote financial inclusion, not to make profits. In the case of bank mergers, economies of scale and scope are being used to veil the promotion of economies of exclusion.
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