Sunday, April 26, 2015

Review of India's Growth Resurgence

Today's Free Press Journal carried a review of the jointly authored book: India's Growth Resurgence: Sectoral Issues and Governance Risks. The book is now available at and Flipkart. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mudra Bank for the poor - Confusions Galore

Will MUDRA Bank put its stamp on the Indian Financial System as the institution to resolve the Financial Inclusion dilemmas in the rural areas?

Piper calls the tunes. Inauguration of Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank by the Prime Minister before he left for Canada, Germany and France on a nine-day tour is being seen as a landmark akin to ‘Garibi Hatau’ and IRDP of the forgotten decades. People say that name has a lot to do with institutions. The name and style of MUDRA has built into it an agency and a bank. It has in it, development and refinance as functions.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Growth has to pare with human development

Business Advisor, Vol.X, Part 1, 10th April 2015 carried this article of mine.

February 2015, towards the close was crowded with the vision-led railway budget, the release of Economic Survey and the Union Budget. The next twenty days in Parliament did not have so much to discuss on the approach to the budget as on amendments to the land bill, the rape incident of West Bengal and some unholy acts in Haryana. The most significant budget discussion related to the allocations to AP and Telangana states and the devolutions under the 14th Finance commission. The strategic intent and the road map for growth laid out in the FM Budget speech, would seem to have got full endorsement.

Growth by itself even if in double digit, would be inconsequential if it escapes the human development. The 300mn poor are not so much worried about how the dollar is moving against the rupee or how the rupee is globally pared although its consequences will have definitive impact on them. In an event crowded out during the last few days of February 15 was the release of a book: ‘India’s Growth Resurgence.’

In spite of the change in the base year from 2005 to 2012, the CSO credibility of the growth figure is still in question in the context of lowest/negative manufacturing growth and not too impressive growth of services sector. The statistical jumble did not in any case put the human development in a better frame than what was on hold till 2014 with 134th rank out of 183 nations surveyed by the UN.

The near two and half decades of reform process were literally in waves with turfs and peaks between 1991. Never ever in the past has the Indian economy been so keenly watched by global community with hope, expectation and anticipation. The sheer size of the economy and the potential it holds has global investors, multi-national corporations, and players in different sectors, queuing to take part in the country’s economic progress and the growth agenda, what with, Make-in-India, Swatch Bharat and Jan Dhan, the new instrument of inclusive growth.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Indian Agriculture - Transforming a Natiion

Can Modi’s eloquence respond to farm credit vows?
Mobile Banking can show the way.

Poverty in riches and riches of the poor - both are now with the banks. The Prime Minister has also asked the bankers to see the red herring in farmers' suicides with compassion and advised passion for extending credit to the farmers. Banks should now see how their machines can be taught this human touch beyond the click of the mouse!!

 “India accounts for only about 2.4 % of the world’s geographical area and 4 % of its water resources, but has to support about 17 % of the world’s human population and 15 % of the livestock. Agriculture is an important sector of the Indian economy, accounting for 14% of the nation’s GDP, about 11% of its exports, about half of the population still relies on agriculture as its principal source of income and it is a source of raw material for a large number of industries.” (State of Indian Agriculture 2013-14, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI, New Delhi)
Policy Brief
‘Agriculture credit is one of the main drivers of agricultural production.’[1] Farming and credit have been highly interdependent for ages because the farmer would have his cash stashed either in soil or in silo and never in liquid form for him to spend for both production and consumption requirements. So is the case for credit at any cost and anywhere for the farmer. This is where the roots of money lender lie. He sits in the village close to the farmer.
Efforts at institutionalizing money lender started with the starting of primary cooperative agricultural credit societies. Post nationalization, nationalized banks, regional rural banks took to agriculture lending in a big way. NABARD was established in 1982 to accelerate productive agricultural credit flow with focus on improving the lot of the small and marginal farmers.

Post liberalization, with India becoming an important constituent of the WTO, Agreement on Agriculture and Market Access has also witnessed diversification of agriculture and rural economy. The wide ranging definition of farming encompassing dairy, poultry, piggery, fisheries, and all animal husbandry and horticulture activities led to inadequacies and delays in extension of credit from institutions. Public sector banks are mandated to extend credit for agriculture that now includes agro-industry and agri-businesses up to 18 % of the total credit.