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Ashok Kotwal
The challenge of job creation
Posted on: 15 Dec 2017
The process of economic transformation that entails labour transitioning from low- to high ... read on »
GST Explainer: Introduction
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017
Seventeen years after its framework was formed, India’s biggest tax reform – the goods and ... read on »
Introducing a new feature: ‘Explainers’
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017
Our day-to-day lives are tossed around due to economic changes, resulting sometimes from g ... read on »
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »

Tag: monetary Policy

The lad(y) doth protest too much, methinks
Pronab Sen
Posted on: 13 Oct 2017

Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has trashed the present government’s track record on economic management. In a recent article, economist Surjit Bhalla refuted Mr. Sinha’s claims with a point-by-point take-down. In this article, Dr. Pronab Sen responds to Dr. Bhalla’s critique.
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Inflation targeting: Should RBI revisit its inflation anchor?
Renu Kohli
Posted on: 09 Oct 2017

Ever since the RBI switched to flexible inflation targeting with headline Consumer Price Index as the inflation anchor, inflation has witnessed a dramatic collapse. In this article, Renu Kohli contends that volatile food prices have exposed the risks inherent in targeting headline CPI inflation.
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Should India hold US$400 billion of foreign exchange reserves?
Gurbachan Singh
Posted on: 03 Oct 2017

RBI’s foreign exchange reserves have now crossed the US$400 billion mark. In this article, Dr Gurbachan Singh discusses why India’s Central Bank should not hold such large reserves.
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Post demonetisation: Is digital finance in India’s future?
Anit Mukherjee , Divyanshi Wadhwa
Posted on: 16 Aug 2017

Analysing RBI data from June 2017 – six months after demonetisation was announced on 9 November 2016 – Mukherjee and Wadhwa show that reliance on cash has reverted to pre-demonetisation levels, and the sharp increases in digital transactions did not sustain. While consumers don’t seem ready to give up cash just yet, the experience proves that the digital financial ecosystem of India is in good health.
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Demonetisation, cattle slaughter ban, and India’s cyclical agrarian crisis
Parag Waknis
Posted on: 04 Aug 2017

In this article, Parag Waknis discusses why India’s rural economy is always on the precipice of crisis, and how the recent shocks of demonetisation and cattle slaughter ban exacerbated the crisis by destroying rural incomes and choking off farmer’s main source of emergency funding, respectively.
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Should emerging markets worry about US monetary policy announcements?
Poonam Gupta , Oliver Masetti , David Rosenblatt
Posted on: 03 Aug 2017

Emerging economies are routinely affected by monetary policy announcements in the US. This column finds that US monetary policy surprises have a significant impact on emerging economies’ exchange rates, equity prices, and bond yields. The impact is larger for surprise tightening of policy than for surprise easing, and disproportionately larger for large surprises. The spillover effects of policy announcements of other advanced economies are much weaker than those of the US.
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The economic and political consequences of India’s demonetisation
Abhijit Banerjee , Namrata Kala
Posted on: 26 Jul 2017

The ruling party at the centre won the Uttar Pradesh state election despite its demonetisation policy having some negative economic impacts on the Indian economy. By combining primary data from surveys of wholesale and retail traders, with secondary data on wholesale markets, this column seeks to analyse why this was so.
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How India can reduce the size of its black economy
Parag Waknis
Posted on: 20 Mar 2017

In this article, Parag Waknis contends that if the Indian government is serious about addressing the black economy, fundamental changes in the structure and organisation of the economy and politics are required.
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Reviving the informal sector from the throes of demonetisation
Kaushik Bhattacharya , Siddhartha Mitra , Sarmistha Pal , Bibhas Saha
Posted on: 13 Feb 2017

While recent measures announced by the government indicate some awareness of the hardships inflicted on the informal sector by the note ban, more needs to be done. In this article, Bhattacharya, Mitra, Pal and Saha summarise the emerging evidence on the significant adverse impact of demonetisation on the informal sector, and suggest policy measures to ensure a steady recovery.
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Union Budget 2017-18: No amends for the sins of demonetisation
Siddharth Varadarajan
Posted on: 06 Feb 2017

Commenting on India’s Union Budget 2017-18, Siddharth Varadarajan, a Founding Editor of The Wire, contends that dealing with the aftereffects of demonetisation requires a fiscal and monetary boost, but the government appears to be in no mood to deliver it. In his view, this is because the fiscal cushion that demonetisation was supposed to provide never materialised.
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An economist’s view on recent domestic and world events
Dilip Mookherjee
Posted on: 31 Jan 2017

Dilip Mookherjee spoke to Hindu Business Line at length on a variety of issues including demonetisation, the upcoming Budget, and the Trump Presidency’s impact on the world economy.
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How to go about chasing black money
Indira Rajaraman
Posted on: 30 Jan 2017

In the context of demonetisation, Indira Rajaraman argues that the focus of any sustainable reform of the taxation structure must be on reducing flows of tax evasion, not going after existing caches of black money.
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Aadhaar, demonetisation, and the poor
Silvia Masiero
Posted on: 09 Jan 2017

There is a view that an Aadhaar-centred apparatus of digital inclusion can shield the poor from the problematic effects of demonetisation. In this article, Silvia Masiero argues that constraints of technology ownership, access to informational networks, and infrastructural readiness prove the argument wrong. Other means are needed to reduce the severe humanitarian consequences of sudden cashlessness.
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Assessing the impact of demonetisation through the gender lens
Mitali Nikore
Posted on: 04 Jan 2017

In this article, Mitali Nikore, Senior Consultant at PwC India, highlights how demonetisation is impacting women differentially, and offers policy suggestions on how the negative effects can be mitigated.
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On demonetisation
Parikshit Ghosh
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016

On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. 1,000 and 500 notes are no longer legal tender, and must be exchanged at the banks for newly issued currency. This major policy intervention has sparked a country-wide debate. Will it curb black money? Is it going to nudge us towards a cashless society? How much will be the collateral damage from the liquidity shock and is it a price worth paying?

Ideas for India is following the issue closely. A lot of commentary has already appeared on our pages and more will be forthcoming. This page collects together all the articles we have posted on demonetisation, in reverse chronological order.

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Demonetisation: A thunderbolt in search of a target
Ajit Karnik
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016

In this article, Ajit Karnik, Professor of Economics at Middlesex University, Dubai, examines the various rationales that have been trotted out to justify demonetisation and finds little evidence to back these up. In his view, this seems to have been done mainly because a dramatic gesture was required to keep the supporters of the current government enthused.
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Post-demonetisation: Can the old notes return?
Badri Sunderarajan
Posted on: 22 Dec 2016

Banks in India are reported to have received about 87.7% of the demonetised currency notes so far. In this article, Badri Sunderarajan argues that when once all the old notes have come in, it would make sense to reintroduce them into the system as legal tender.
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India’s demonetisation drive: Politics trumps economics
Siddhartha Mitra
Posted on: 20 Dec 2016

In this article, Siddhartha Mitra, Professor of Economics at Jadavpur University, argues that even though demonetisation fails the standard economic cost-benefit test with regard to its stated objectives, it may still make for sound political arithmetic.
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Demonetisation: Some very counterintuitive effects in practice
Gurbachan Singh
Posted on: 18 Dec 2016

Due to demonetisation, holders of black money lose if they cannot exchange their notes or sell these in the black market. It is widely reasoned that this implies an equal financial gain for the public authorities. In this article, Gurbachan Singh shows that this logic is flawed.
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Will demonetisation lead to a protracted economic slowdown?
Radhika Pandey , Rajeswari Sengupta
Posted on: 15 Dec 2016

In this article, Pandey and Sengupta argue that the impact of the contractionary demand shock triggered by the note ban will gradually radiate from cash-intensive activities to virtually every sector of the economy.
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The demonetisation boondoggle
Amartya Lahiri
Posted on: 04 Dec 2016

In this article, Amartya Lahiri, Professor of Economics at the University of British Columbia, argues that all public policy must rely on a clear-headed cost-benefit analysis and the recent demonetisation move fails the test.
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Why Demonetisation?
Sarmistha Pal
Posted on: 01 Dec 2016

In this article, Sarmistha Pal, Chair in Financial Economics at the University of Surrey, examines whether the current government’s stance in tackling black money has significantly differed from its predecessor, and how far it is willing to go in this respect.
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Consequences of the demonetisation shock
Sudipto Mundle
Posted on: 29 Nov 2016

In this article, Sudipto Mundle, Emeritus Professor at NIPFP, contends that we are likely to see a significant dip in economic activity till January 2017 or even till the end of the current financial year because of the disruptive demonetisation shock.
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Notes ban: Modinomics vs. Moditics
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 23 Nov 2016

Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, contends that while the ban on high-denomination currency notes is bad economics, it is a brilliant political move.
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Demonetisation and rural cooperative banks
Ajay Vir Jakhar
Posted on: 22 Nov 2016

The RBI has barred rural cooperative banks from exchanging or accepting the denotified Rs. 1,000 and 500 notes. In this article, Ajay Vir Jakhar of Bharat Krishak Samaj - a non-partisan association of farmers - argues that if rural cooperative banks sink, so will farmers.
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A monetary economics view of the demonetisation
Ajay Shah
Posted on: 21 Nov 2016

The demonetised Rs. 1,000 and 500 notes were 86% of the total volume of cash in India. In this article, Ajay Shah, Professor at NIPFP, argues that if a significant scale of firm failure were to come about, it would convert a temporary shock into a deeper and more long-term recession.
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Going cashless but thinking cash?
Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay
Posted on: 20 Nov 2016

In this article, Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay, Professor of Economics and Finance at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, contends that switching from a predominantly cash-based to cashless economy needs a positive, exogenous shock and the recent currency ban could be the perfect opportunity for that. To give India’s cashless economy the push it needs, the government could allow mobile and other digital payment platforms to accept deposits in demonetised notes.
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Picking up the pieces
Pronab Sen
Posted on: 18 Nov 2016

In an earlier article , Pronab Sen, Country Director, IGC India Central, examined some of the economic consequences of the recent demonetisation of Rs. 1,000 and 500 notes in India, and concluded that the potential damage could be substantial, both in terms of growth and equity.

In this article, focussing on solutions, he contends that the government now needs to realise that credit for production purposes is at least as, if not more, important than providing liquidity for consumption.

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Policymaking in the ‘grey zone’?
Prerna Mukharya
Posted on: 17 Nov 2016

Prerna Mukharya, Founder of Outline India – a social enterprise that focuses on data collection, impact assessments and evaluation studies, predominantly working with rural populations in remote areas – discusses the impact of the currency ban on their work.
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A macro view of India’s currency ban
Rajeswari Sengupta
Posted on: 15 Nov 2016

The recent ban on high-value currency notes has taken the country by storm. While much is being written about the pros and cons of this announcement in terms of the effect on black money, logistical costs, and the immediate inconvenience faced by the public, there is little or no discourse on the macroeconomic implications. In this article, Rajeswari Sengupta, Assistant Professor of Economics at IGIDR, discusses the impact of this move on money supply, output and prices, in the short- and medium-term.
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Shock and oh damn
Pronab Sen
Posted on: 14 Nov 2016

In this article, Pronab Sen, Country Director for the India Central Programme of the International Growth Centre, argues that India’s recent demonetisation has penalised virtually the entire informal sector, and perhaps damaged it permanently.
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A closer look at demonetisation
Gurbachan Singh
Posted on: 13 Nov 2016

In this article, Gurbachan Singh contends that black money and white money are simplistic concepts; there is a grey area as well. In his view, the economic effects of demonetisation in terms of real estate, seigniorage, and political funding are complex. The measure can be useful in curbing black money only if supplemented by other policies on a sustained basis.
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Currency shock: Does the gain justify the strain?
Parikshit Ghosh
Posted on: 11 Nov 2016

On the evening of 8 November, PM Modi announced that 1,000 and 500 rupee notes will cease to be legal tender post-midnight. In this article, Parikshit Ghosh, Associate Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, contends that there are bigger, juicier and relatively low-hanging fruit the government is not reaching for, in the fight against black money.
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Are grain procurement shocks inflationary?
Chetan Ghate , Sargam Gupta , Debdulal Mallick
Posted on: 17 Oct 2016

Central banks in emerging markets grapple with understanding the inflationary impact of grain procurement shocks because the precise link between the agriculture sector and the rest of the economy may not be well understood. This column presents a framework to understand how the government’s grain procurement policy in India can be inflationary, and what the appropriate monetary policy response should be.
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The tussle between RBI and Ministry of Finance: A different dimension
Gurbachan Singh
Posted on: 18 Aug 2016

The popular belief about the tussle between RBI and the Ministry of Finance is that it is an issue of the trade-off between inflation and economic growth, with the former more focussed on controlling high inflation and the latter emphasising high growth. However, according to Gurbachan Singh, there is a different dimension to the story; the Ministry doesn’t fully appreciate that RBI cannot ignore market forces while making announcements about interest rates.
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Inflation targeting: A long way to go
Rajeswari Sengupta
Posted on: 18 Jul 2016

The Finance Bill, 2016, amended the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, 1934, to define inflation targeting as the primary objective of the central bank. In this article, Rajeswari Sengupta, Assistant Professor at IGIDR, contends that to actually become an inflation-targeting central bank, RBI will need to undertake a series of reforms to build institutional capabilities and improve the monetary policy transmission mechanism.
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Fiscal deficit and growth slowdown
Gurbachan Singh
Posted on: 17 Feb 2016

Ahead of the Union Budget, several policymakers and economists in India have advocated increasing public spending to spur economic growth. In this article, Gurbachan Singh argues that even if India is facing a slowdown, a larger fiscal deficit is not the solution – more so now that RBI and the government have adopted inflation targeting. The prospect of a fiscal crisis may be farfetched but India may be incurring costs differently.
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Monetary dimensions of the recent Indian inflationary experience
Pronab Sen
Posted on: 12 Oct 2015

Inflation in India remained at or near double-digit levels between 2009-10 and 2014-15. In this article, Pronab Sen, Country Director, IGC India Central, argues that while the initiation of the inflationary process may have been rooted in structural factors, there is a monetary story to be told about its propagation across commodities and perpetuation over time. This understanding explains RBI’s helplessness and may help in designing appropriate policy interventions for similar inflationary episodes in the future.
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India’s monetary policy in unusual times, uncharted waters
Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 26 Aug 2015

There is a lot of discussion of the right course of monetary policy for India. In this article, India’s Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian argues that the country’s real policy interest rates have diverged significantly for consumers and producers, and are unusually high for the latter. There is a clear need for more consideration of the appropriate measure of restrictiveness in these unusual times.
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India’s Monetary Policy Committee: Formation blues
Amartya Lahiri
Posted on: 10 Aug 2015

The government and RBI are in the process of finalising the structure of India’s Monetary Policy Committee. In this article, Amartya Lahiri, Professor of Economics at the University of British Columbia, makes recommendations for the composition of the committee that would help preserve the independence of the RBI in monetary policy oversight and conduct in form and spirit.
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Charting a course for the Indian economy
Karthik Muralidharan , Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 05 Aug 2015

Karthik Muralidharan (Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego) speaks with Arvind Subramanian (Chief Economic Adviser, Government of India) on a broad set of issues ranging from the uniqueness of the Indian development model, the political economy of reforms, reducing factor misallocation in the economy, enhancing State capacity, financing India´s infrastructure needs, to the implications of the Fourteenth Finance Commission, improving the design of social welfare programmes, and climate change.

This is the third in the series of I4I Conversations.

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How interest rates affect financial decisions of Indian households
Nikhil Gupta
Posted on: 17 Jul 2015

RBI has cut interest rates three times this year so far. While rate cuts are welcomed by the Indian corporate sector, their impact on households is less discussed. This column analyses the relationship between deposit rates and financial decisions of households. It finds that lower rates reduce net financial savings of households, which in turn reduces the resource pool available to the corporate sector.
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Where is India’s growth story headed?
Ila Patnaik , Madhavi Pundit
Posted on: 25 May 2015

The global financial crisis and domestic policy paralysis led to a decline in firms’ investment activities and investors’ business confidence in India. Could this have affected the economy’s long-term growth? This column contends that institutional capacity for reform and the right policy action can render the negative investment shock temporary, and ensure that the trend growth of output remains strong.
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Responding to external shocks
Ashima Goyal
Posted on: 30 Apr 2015

Following the global financial crisis of 2007-08, the Indian economy was exposed to various shocks. While the major source of shocks was external, the effects were magnified by certain lapses in domestic policy. This column discusses what policies worked and what did not work to reduce excessive rupee volatility, and how the lessons were applied to prepare for any future shocks.
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The nuances of inflation targeting in India
Abhijit Sen Gupta , Rajeswari Sengupta
Posted on: 16 Mar 2015

How prepared is India for inflation targeting? This column suggests that the larger weight assigned by the RBI to tackling inflation over the years, relative to other policy objectives such as stabilising exchange rates, places it in a good position to make the transition to the new regime. However, limited control over supply shocks that impact inflation might continue to pose a challenge. Greater coordination between fiscal and monetary policy would improve the efficacy of inflation targeting.
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Evaluating the risks of inflation targeting in India
Renu Kohli
Posted on: 03 Mar 2015

The adoption of flexible inflation targeting by the Indian government and RBI is a landmark change in the country’s monetary policy. In this article, Renu Kohli - a macroeconomic policy specialist - discusses the risks associated with the move. She reasons that the national and global macroeconomic environment and the timing of transition to the new regime are crucial to its success.
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Targeting nominal GDP
Pranjul Bhandari , Jeffrey Frankel
Posted on: 08 Jan 2015

Central banks, especially in developing countries, still seek transparent and credible communication. Yet signalling intentions in the conduct of monetary policy sometimes creates undesirable constraints. This column argues that it may be better to phrase central bank pronouncements in terms of nominal GDP, rather than in terms of inflation. If it is worth communicating a plan, it is worth choosing a plan that one can live with.
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India’s macroeconomic outlook
Eswar Prasad
Posted on: 16 Dec 2014

With falling inflation, high forex reserves and the new government embarking on a broad reform agenda, things seem to be looking up for India. In this article, Eswar Prasad shares his macroeconomic outlook for the economy. He provides his perspective on foreign inflows, disinvestment, fiscal position, the reform agenda, and escaping the low-growth trap.
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Should India embrace inflation targeting?
Iyanatul Islam
Posted on: 12 Dec 2014

The Urjit Patel Committee recommended the formal adoption of an inflation targeting regime for India. In this article, Iyanatul Islam compares the views of the current RBI Governor with those of his predecessor on controlling inflation. He concludes that, at this stage, the incremental gains for the RBI from fully embracing inflation targeting are likely to be rather modest.
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Revisiting Indian inflation
Kirti Gupta , Fahad Siddiqui
Posted on: 10 Oct 2014

Persistently high inflation is a key challenge facing India today. This column analyses long-term trends in Indian inflation and causal factors. It also discusses the current thinking of the RBI on revising and strengthening India’s monetary policy framework.
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Inflation targeting in India: Right and wrong
Gurbachan Singh
Posted on: 31 Jan 2014

An RBI-appointed Expert Committee has recommended targeting a 4% inflation rate, but allowing it to vary between 2% and 6%. This column takes a different position on the target and leeway. It argues that achieving truly low and stable inflation alongside macroeconomic stability is not as difficult as is usually made out to be, if the right policies are in place.
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India's unique crisis – a short term fix
Devesh Kapur , Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 20 Dec 2013

While the current turbulence in the Indian economy bears a resemblance to the situation of other emerging economies, it is unique when compared with historical experiences of economic crises. In their previous article, Kapur and Subramanian discussed the misdiagnosis of India’s crisis, and consequent errors in policy remedies. In this part, they outline short-term actions for reversing the growth slowdown, reducing current account deficit and preventing inflation.
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India's unique crisis
Devesh Kapur , Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 16 Dec 2013

While the current turbulence in the Indian economy bears a resemblance to the situation of other emerging economies, it is unique when compared with historical experiences of economic crises. In the first of a two-part article, Kapur and Subramanian discuss the misdiagnoses of India’s crisis, and the consequent errors in policy remedies. In the next part, the authors provide a short-term solution for India’s unique crisis.
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The Reserve Bank´s mission impossible?
Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 29 Nov 2013

India’s current inflation is unprecedentedly high – not in absolute terms but relative to the rest of the world. This article discusses the role of inflation in the recent currency crisis, and argues that taming inflation may prove difficult because the social consensus in favour of moderate inflation appears to have eroded.
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What saved the rupee?
Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 06 Nov 2013

This article analyses the dramatic fall of the rupee between May and August this year, and its recovery thereafter. It asserts that it was primarily external factors and an unconventional intervention by the Reserve Bank of India that influenced the evolution of the rupee during the period.
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The challenges of opening up India’s capital account
Abhijit Sen Gupta , Rajeswari Sengupta
Posted on: 15 May 2013

A key objective for any open economy is to avoid a financial or balance of payments crisis – a goal that often calls for trade-offs between liberalisation and maintaining control of the economy. This column explores the trade offs India has made.
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Understanding India’s monetary policy
Rajeswari Sengupta , Nirvikar Singh
Posted on: 21 Dec 2012

From the outside looking in, it may seem that India’s central bank is making up its own rules, making it difficult to predict the next movements in the interest rate. This column argues that the central bank is in fact following a rule, you just have to look hard enough.
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Monetary policy in India and other developing countries
Prachi Mishra , Peter Montiel
Posted on: 03 Sep 2012

Setting interest rates and controlling inflation is an altogether different challenge in countries like India. This column argues that in many developing countries, the financial system is still too underdeveloped for monetary policy to have a reliable effect on the economy, raising doubts over several of today’s policies.
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Searching for the soul of monetary policy in India
Amartya Lahiri
Posted on: 09 Aug 2012

What is the thinking behind the current policy of the Reserve Bank of India? This column argues that its rules for deciding on India’s interest rates are based on assumptions that hold in developed economies – but not necessarily in India. Indeed, in many cases this leads to precisely the wrong policy decisions.
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