ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Public Bank Privatisation in a Post-truth World

The Narendra Modi government appears to have decided to privatise public sector banks (PSBs). Preparations are underway with arguments being marshalled that “there is no alternative” to privatisation. Noises of this kind have emanated often from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and government...

A Critique of RBI’s Trend and Progress of Banking in India

Over the last three years, the scope of the Reserve Bank of India’s Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India has drastically come down. Information on important aspects of the operations of commercial banks and other financial institutions is now not presented in the report. A plea is made to restore the contents of the erstwhile reports and enhance the utility of the publication with additional data fromRBI’s existing database.

Reflections on Analytical Issues in Monetary Policy

Analytical issues have arisen in the conduct of flexible inflation targeting as the framework of monetary policy, adopted formally by India in 2016, despite the noticeable downward drift in the inflation rate and concerns of many economists about its relevance in the light of the global financial crisis. Issues such as the framework’s rationale, the medium-term inflation target, the meaning of real interest rate in the Indian context, the realism in respect of inflation expectations and of the inferred logic of the yield curve, and the implications for economic inequalities have been pointed out.

How Efficient Are India’s Cooperative Banks?

In spite of their distinct organisational structure and banking philosophy based on mutuality, there is scant evidence on efficiency of cooperative banks. The efficiency of district central cooperative banks in India is investigated by constructing a panel of 297 cooperative banks over the period 2002–14. Using parametric and non-parametric frontier analysis, it is found that efficiency estimates vary depending upon whether advances or investments of DCCBs are used as output. The efficiency of cooperative banking is mapped, and shows considerable variation in efficiency of DCCBs across states. The findings suggest the need for innovative strategies to improve cooperative banking efficiency in the country.

Theoretical Analysis of ‘Demonetisation’

With the aid of simple theoretical tools used in classroom lectures, the implications of the recent “demonetisation” exercise in India are analysed. It lends support to conclusions reached by other authors on the impact of demonetisation with the aid of available data. Following Robert Lucas’s Nobel lecture, the merits of economic policies that assume the form of random shocks to an economic system are questioned.

Minting Money for India

The 1980s was a period of currency shortage in South Asia. South Korea's moneymaking technology was key to countries like India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Pakistan, where "made-in-Korea" banknotes and coins were circulated. Further, South Korea's moneymaking technology was transferred to some countries like Bhutan to produce currency. Such export of currencies and technology transfer from South Korea to South Asia is significant in the sense that possessing and producing unique national currencies is closely linked to state legitimacy and power.

Lost Due To Demonetisation

Sudden demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,0000 notes, an elimination of existing money stock that enables economic transactions, is bound to have an economic impact, apart from penalising those who hold this money as store of their tax-evaded illegal wealth. Considering various possible scenarios, a loss of gross domestic product will be inevitable.

Converting Urban Cooperative Banks into Commercial Banks

The debate around the conversion of Scheduled Urban Cooperative Banks into commercial banks warrants an investigation into their performance. The larger objective is to examine whether SUCBs are able to compete with their peer group and remain viable when subjected to stringent regulatory requirements, in the event of their conversion. The performance of SUCBs as a group is comparable with that of their peer group, that is, old private sector banks, with the exception of non-performing assets. Performance rankings reveal that the smaller SUCBs are better performers than larger ones, calling for a relook at the threshold for conversion. In the event of conversion of SUCBs into commercial banks, some of the converted entities will be as good as some of the existing OPSBs, or may even be a shade better.

Concentration, Collusion and Corruption in India’s Banks

Why would companies, for whom costs rise with higher interest rates, choose to amass credit as interest rates rise? Were more and more loans taken with the understanding that default would be inevitable? Only a commission of inquiry with a specifi c mandate to understand the years of loose lending by banks in India can answer these and other uncomfortable questions. These answers are needed in the interest of securing our economy, and indeed our democracy.

Not in People's Interest

The politics and economics of interest rate formation in this country must be studied carefully. Lowering the interest rate raises stock prices in an environment where they themselves cannot move up thanks to the fundamentals of the economy that are not conducive.

‘On-tap’ Bank Licences

Critically evaluating the draft guidelines for “on-tap” bank licences put up by the Reserve Bank of India, it is argued that India’s banking system is already sufficiently competitive, and there appear to be few who would be willing to enter the banking business. Entry of newer players, especially those with corporate backing, cannot be the priority at the moment. The priority over the next two or three years has to be the resolution of the non-performing assets problem and strengthening of the existing players.

Financial Sector Reforms

Unified Financial Code: Is India Ready? A Critique on the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission Report by S S Tarapore; Gurgaon: LexisNexis, 2015; pp xii+166, ₹295.

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