The Larger Crisis that NPAs Signal
Sep 17th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Desperate attempts to prevent liquidation of power sector assets in companies that are defaulters point to a deeper crisis afflicting neoliberal growth. A sector that was plagued by shortages was opened up to private participation, leading to rapid expansion in the expectation of large profits from liberalised prices. Public sector banks were called upon to finance that expansion with the government being complicit. Now, however, firms find themselves trapped between inadequate demand at prevailing prices and rising costs that precipitate default.
India's Electronics Manufacturing Sector: Getting the Diagnosis Right
Sep 7th 2018, Smitha Francis
The Indian electronics industry's high dependence on imports is a direct outcome of the trade and investment liberalisation that was carried out by successive governments without putting in place the necessary industrial policy support for maintaining and improving domestic linkages and indigenous capabilities.
Factory Workers in India
Aug 14th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The number of workers in the industrial factory sector in India has grown since 2005-06, but other trends suggest that the bargaining power of such workers remains low.
State or Market?: India's telecom wars
Mar 17th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The entry of Reliance Jio in the telecom industry has unleashed an aggressive price war, resulting in takeovers, mergers and closures owing to large debts, spectrum charge dues and falling revenues.
The Aging of a Growth Engine
Feb 14th 2018, 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.
The Airtel-Aadhaar Fix
Jan 10th 2018, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Airtel is let off lightly by the government despite being in clear violation of the law in a case that exposes the flaws and dangers in the ecosystem surrounding Aadhaar.
Indian IT hits a speedbump
Nov 21st 2017, 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.
What is Really Happening in Indian Manufacturing?
Aug 16th 2017, C.P. Chandrasekhar and 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.
Lopsided Industrialisation
May 9th 2017, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
Recent trends in the organisational form of units in the registered manufacturing sector suggest that India’s factory sector is not just abnormal but backward to boot.
Industrial Growth and Demonetization
Apr 24th 2017, Prabhat Patnaik
Recent data on the manufacturing sector dispel all the lies that government propaganda has been peddling of late about demonetization having had no recessionary effect.
ICT: Implications of imbalanced growth
Mar 14th 2017, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
An analysis of India's ICT performance suggests that software export success tends to hide both imbalances in production and their adverse balance of payments fall-out.
Quarterly GDP Estimates: Curiouser and curiouser
Mar 2nd 2017, Jayati Ghosh
CSO's latest GDP estimates for the third quarter throw up some real surprises as these run counter to all the evidence of depressed demand, of massive drops in sales, of job losses and of a significant hit especially on small scale and informal manufactured goods producers following demonetisation.
Power: The web of debt
Feb 3rd 2017, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Caught in a peculiar web of debt, Jharkhand defaults on payments for power making the aim of NDA government's scheme UDAY, announced with much fanfare, remain unrealised.
Demonetization and India Inc
Dec 9th 2016. C.P. Chandrasekhar
Demonetisation exercise has adversely affected the functioning of medium and small enterprises, which carries out a substantial part of transactions, to buy inputs, pay workers, and distribute goods, in cash.
India's Export Collapse
Nov 30th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
A peculiar combination of factors, besides the global recession, explains India's poor export performance in recent times.
How is India Inc Doing?
Oct 28th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The scenario of India's manufacturing sector seems to be one where the sector, when considered as a whole, is settling for higher profits even at the expense of lower sales volumes.
Housing Market Frenzy in China
Oct 13th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The urban housing market in China is experiencing a bubble that is driving property prices to unbelievable levels in some of the major cities. But the divergence in recent trends in house prices suggests that this bubble may soon burst.
National IPR Policy and Innovation
Jul 18th 2016, Reji K. Joseph
This article seeks to analyse critically the relationship between innovation and IPRs with a view to understand the implications of the IPR Policy for India.
India's Collapsing Exports
May 26th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The downturn in India’s export performance, that is much worse than other comparable countries, is a reflection of deeper structural weaknesses in the composition of its exports.
On Data and Decision-making
Apr 13th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
Wide differences in official data based on series with different base years or from alternative sources lead to questions about their relevance for decision making.
Another Setback for the Tatas
Apr 13th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Tata Steel's decision of closing its steel operations in the UK reflects the pitfalls of Indian companies seeking success abroad rather than fixing problems at home.
Tata Tried to Turn the Tables on Britain. It Failed
Mar 31st 2016, Jayati Ghosh
A sense of reversal of colonial roles might have played a role in Tata Steel's acquisition of the British steel giant, but the Indian conglomerate seems to have overreached itself.
A Different Oil Shock
Feb 4th 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Given the magnitude of the oil price fall, the world economy seems set for a deflationary crisis rather than expansionary deflation.
Technology and the Future of Work
Feb 4th 2016, Jayati Ghosh
We need to take a new look at technological change because the kind of technological change that is more disruptive rather than productive is neither inevitable nor that desirable.
Privatization: Any method in this madness?
Feb 3rd 2016, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The government signals towards winding down the public sector allowing the private sector to occupy the spaces it has, for long, avoided. But this predatory exercise involves large developmental costs.
Financial Services under WTO: Disciplining governments and freeing
Dec 22nd 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Services trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization may fail at the Doha Round, only because there has been no progress in agriculture and industrial goods trade.
Capital Goods Conundrum
Nov 24th 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
While the Government appears to recognise the importance of expanding and strengthening India's capital goods industry, the policy signals it sends seem contrary and confusing.
Pachhwara Coal Mines, Jharkhand: Privatisation of coal mining and rights of adivasis
Jul 21st 2015, Vikas Rawal and Prakash Viplav
Privatisation of coal mining in Amrapara has facilitated a loot of national resources and deprived the poor adivasi peasants of the benefits that rightfully belong to them.
Great Dream of Prosperity
Jul 21st 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The emphasis on the latest GDP growth numbers, when the figures from other indicators point to the opposite, may be the government’s only option to show that all is well.
The Bursting of China's Housing Bubble
Apr 28th 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The party is over in China's real estate markets, but the policy makers are trying to revive it through financial deregulation and monetary easing that is unlikely to work.
Will the Recent Changes in Labour Laws Usher in 'Acche Din' for the Working Class?
Apr 23rd 2015, Anamitra Roychowdhury
The recent changes in the labour laws are overwhelmingly in favour of the employers and detrimental to the cause of the working class.
Indian Exceptionalism
Apr 15th 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
Official satisfaction with the decision by Moody's to raise India's sovereign rating may be ignoring the possibility that the agency missed an important source of vulnerability.
Questioning India's GDP figures
Mar 16th 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The "too good to be realistic" growth estimate for India put forward by the CSO has been the result of the changes adopted in the data sources and methods.
Lessons from the Coal Blocks Auction
Mar 4th 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The outcome of coal block auction suggests that the government could have stuck to expanding public sector coal production without handing the mines over to the private sector.
Ever Expanding Debt Bubbles in China and India
Mar 3rd 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
Even though China appears to have a much higher level of debt- GDP ratio, India's debt situation with much lower levels of corporate debt may prove to be more problematic.
Banking on FDI
Feb 9th 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The government's strategy to attract foreign firms for investing in Indian manufacturing to produce for the export markets abroad may not prove to be all too wise.
Oil: The big 100 per cent story
Feb 2nd 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
In a puzzling development, some financial markets registered a decline in the wake of the recent dramatic fall in oil prices. So, is the oil price fall not all good news?
Make in India
Dec 29th 2014, Jayati Ghosh
The new ambitious "Make in India" initiative is based largely on bluster, bravado and marketing hype that lacks any clear strategy for proactive trade and industrial policies.
Where's the "Missing Middle" in Indian Industry?
Dec 9th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
While the problem of missing middle is taken for granted in the Indian industry, official data reveal that medium sized firms actually dominate in both employment and output.
Recent Changes in Labour Laws: An exploratory note
Nov 12th 2014, Anamitra Roychowdhury
This article explores the possible implications of amending the Contract Labour Act, 1970 and questions the rationale behind amending the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.
Factory Wages in India
Oct 14th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The demand for labour market reform is absurd as the wages of the workers account for less than half the total wage and salary bill in the organised industry.
India’s High Technology Deficit
Aug 5th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
There has been a gradual decline of US and EU dominance over hitech manufacturing, with emerging economies posing a challenge. But, unfortunately, India has lagged far behind.
Contract Workers in Manufacturing
Apr 29th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
Contractualisation of work has become a pervasive feature of both public and private sectors in all three major sectors of Indian industry.
A Curious Recession
Apr 21st 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar
India's industrial sector seems mired in a recession at a time when foreign capital inflows have been substantial and capital market is exuberant.
The Burden of Corporate Debt
Apr 15th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The corporate profitability in India is on a decline and the rising interest cost, besides the worsening economic environment, seems to underlie this profits squeeze.
Crony Capitalism in the Age of State Capture
Mar 10th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The illegal nexus between the state and big business for the benefit of both has strengthened under the neoliberal policy regime in India.
Public Banks and the Burden of Private Infrastructure Investment
Feb 21st 2014, Jayati Ghosh
The pushing through of private infrastructure projects without due regard to regulatory requirements is unjust, socially disruptive and exposes the economy to financial risks.
The Industrial Growth Conundrum
Feb 7th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The variations in manufacturing growth estimates by IIP, NAS and ASI triggered reports of an upward revision in 2011-12 GDP growth estimate, but the reasons are not obvious.
A Reality Check on the Labour Market Flexibility Argument in India
Feb 5th 2014, Anamitra Roychowdhury
It is wrong to identify labour laws as the major reason for slow growth in employment, since employment protection laws apply only to a subset of the total organised sector.
India's Proposed FTAs with EFTA and the EU: Complicating a myopic policy regime
Jan 31st 2014, Smitha Francis
India should put on hold the signing of further bilateral and regional trade agreements and strive for a trade policy compatible with a strategic industrial policy.
The Geography of Global Manufacturing
Jan 27th 2014, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The US's cries on the looming threat from China seem to be just propaganda to pre-empt any challenge to existing imperial power.
Animal Spirits
Dec 24th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
As GDP growth slows, the government focuses on ways of raising investment in the economy. But evidence from the CSO suggests that the source of the problem may lie elsewhere.
To Pay or Not to Pay: Vodafone tax imbroglio
Aug 30th 2013, Abhijit Mukhopadhyay
The Vodafone tax case set bad precedent, created panic in the government, induced irrational policy making, and showed the extent of blatant appeasement of foreign investment.
Industrial Downturn
Aug 19th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The experience in the automobile sector indicates that the confidence required to keep the growth going has been on a decline.
Foreign Crutches
Jul 29th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The government's expectation of earning a huge foreign exchange for India, based on which the liberalisation of foreign investment rules was justified, has been belied.
The Cost of Reliance on Gas
Jun 28th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The new proposed policy of pricing natural gas is another example of the State acting on behalf of private capital at the expense of social welfare.
The Business of News in the Age of the Internet
May 7th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
In the context of the digital revolution, the author discusses some possible implications of the impact of the internet on the print business and the directions they point to.
The Public Sector Cash Pile
Apr 1st 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
As India's CPSEs accumulate surpluses, the government continues with its effort to redirect and mop up the balances rather than assist them invest the funds in new capacities.
Signals from the Car Market
Mar 20th 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Recent downturn in the once rapidly growing passenger car industry points towards the fact that credit-driven growth cannot sustain over a long period of time.
Ruling out Default by Definition
Feb 22nd 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The loan recovery process initiated by Kingfisher Airlines' lenders at a significant haircut may be not the last instance of large losses to be suffered by the banking system.
Burdening Public Banks with Private Losses
Oct 30th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
While large bank loans to private investors have been restructured to keep them 'performing', the burden of such financing has fallen disproportionately on public sector banks.
Promise Belied
Oct 20th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
There is little evidence from the RBI's latest data to suggest that liberalisation's promise of positive net foreign exchange earnings for the country has borne fruit.
Emerging Dynamics of Global Production Networks and Labour Process: A study from India
Sep 12th 2012, Praveen Jha and Amit Chakraborty

With cheap labour and a strong supply base, India's automobile sector has emerged successful in integrating itself into the global production networks. Using case studies from the National Capital Region, this paper seeks to study the nature of changes in the organisation of production and work in the automobile sector - both intra-firm and inter-firm - and their impact on the changing labour processes and issues of managerial control, skill or working conditions. The anatomy of the recent waves of labour unrest there has been studied to investigate its relation with changing labour processes, and to understand the new regime of accumulation from a political economy perspective in terms of the dynamic interaction of capital's strategy, technology and the agency of labour.

The Allocation of Coal Blocks
Sep 3rd 2012, Prabhat Patnaik
The allocation of captive coal blocks to private parties raises a number of issues, which includes the fact even the auction route does not recoup the entire loss to the exchequer on account of the handing over of exhaustible resources to the private sector. Further, by handing over coal blocks that constitute stocks, the government is not just assuring the private players of flows, it is actually promoting monopoly. This is the larger loss to the nation.
Tweaking Animal Spirits
Aug 8th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
One element of the emerging policy consensus within India's economic policy establishment involves spurring demand for the private sector by diverting expenditure away from subsidies for the poor to finance investment. Simultaneously, a case is being made for providing more concessions to cajole the private sector into exploiting this opportunity.

Labour Market Regulations and Economic Outcomes: Some capital lessons and minor messages

Aug 8th 2012, Praveen Jha, Sakti Golder and Swayamsiddha Panda
This paper provides a survey of the empirical evidence on the relationship between labour market institutions and economic outcomes. Survey of major cross-country empirical constructs that examine linkages between labour regulations and different aspects of economic performance such as employment, growth, etc., shows that the empirical basis for the advocacy of blanket labour market flexibility is rather weak. The paper also highlights some key empirical findings from the organised manufacturing sector in India and postulates some capital lessons and minor messages that emerge from such an exercise.
The Growth Model has Come Undone
Jul 12th 2012, Mritiunjoy Mohanty
The government's argument that India's economic slowdown is the result of the global situation and related uncertainty is only partly true. The deeper reason is the unravelling of the underlying growth model - partly due to the greatly increased import dependence of the manufacturing sector and partly because the investment subsidy that Indian companies enjoyed due to the under-pricing of assets is no longer feasible.
Engineering Teaching and Research in IITs and its Impact on India
Jul 5th 2012, Milind Sohoni
The dominant paradigm of research and development (R&D), as it is practised in India's premier engineering institutes, has not only been abstract and lacking in diversity, but has also been too 'international' to incentivise work on our own development problems. Such an inverted incentive structure in the socio-economically important engineering job market has been macroeconomically observable in the faster growth in service sector as compared to manufacturing.
Of Profits and Growth
May 29th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The period between 2002-03 and 2008-09 saw India's economy grow at an unprecedented rate, with manufacturing too witnessing a revival. However, the rate of growth of the manufacturing sector would be reduced due to the effects of the recent developments of reduction and even reversal of foreign capital inflows, the liquidity crunch and the large scale corruption in India.
The Roaring 2000s
May 11th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The coincidence of the profit and the output booms during the two post-liberalisation booms in India's organised manufacturing sector since the early 1990s suggests that in periods of rising demand, the organised manufacturing sector in India has been a major beneficiary of reform through a rise in mark up. The complaints of the leaders of this sector are therefore not to be taken too seriously.
The Continuing Need for Industrial Policy
May 7th 2012, Jayati Ghosh
The 13th UNCTAD conference held recently in Qatar discussed industrial policies as the significant yet unsung force behind the much trumpeted emergence of some developing economies as major players in the global stage. Despite liberalisation in the '90s, much of India's success too lies in the industrial policies that preceded it. Moreover, India has much to learn from its counterparts like Brazil on how to utilise industrial policies even in largely market-driven economies.
Affordable Medicine: A big step forward
Apr 27th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The recent judgement by India's Controller of Patents granting Compulsory License to an Indian pharmaceutical company for the production of a cancer drug, the patent for which is held by German pharmaceuticals and chemicals giant Bayer, is not just historic but path breaking.
The Age of “High” Oil
Mar 9th 2012, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The recent spike in the international prices of oil suggests that the recession-induced dip in oil prices may be behind us. Political uncertainty and financial speculation have trapped the world in a regime of high and rising oil prices.
Pills, Patents and Profits
Nov 16th 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
It is widely accepted that regulation and control in India's pharmaceutical sector had resulted in India ensuring access to cheap medicines for its population. However, liberalisation policies have eroded away much of the benefits. The newly proposed National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Policy, 2011 can do further damage by weakening the current price control regulations.
Employment Shifts after the Global Crisis
Oct 4th 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The stagnation of employment in developed countries and apparent recovery in developing countries after the Great Recession of 2008-09 have renewed perceptions of a global shift in employment to the developing world, particularly in manufacturing activities. This article uses the most recent available ILO data to examine the extent to which such a shift is actually occurring.
Policy Inertia, Oil and Inflation
Jul 14th 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The Union government's reluctance to look for alternate measures to ease oil price rise fuelled by international shocks reflects a policy inertia stemming from its deep faith in the market mechanism. However the state governments and the consumers who have to bear the additional burden of such price hikes are at the receiving end.
Global Oil Prices
Jul 13th 2011, Jayati Ghosh
Recent price changes in global oil markets are increasingly affected by forces that have more to do with financial speculation and expectations than with current movements in demand and supply. In the current oil price surge, the real gainers are the financial speculators in oil futures markets and the big oil companies.
Gassing the State
Jun 29th 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
Corruption has reached unprecedented levels and constitutes the fundamental problem that India is facing today. It stems from the neoliberal reform that sought to attract private capital into a lucrative and sensitive area such as petroleum.
Whither Industrial Growth?
Apr 8th 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
The recent deceleration in month-on-month IIP growth rates has given the government cause for concern. One possible argument that explains the medium term industrial growth trends is that the process of unwinding of the fiscal stimulus was not accompanied by any neutralising surge in debt-financed private investment and consumption. However, it is too early to conclude with confidence that this is what is happening.
Revisiting Financial Reform
Apr 8th 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
India is doing away with specialised development banking institutions on the grounds that equity and bond markets would finance industrial development. This is bound to lead to a shortfall in finance for long-term investments, especially for medium and small enterprises. The experience of countries such as Brazil, which has thus far not opted for this trajectory, may be educative.
The Japan-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
Feb 22nd 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh
There has been much media celebration about the recent signing of the Japan-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. This article examines some of the features of the agreement and considers their implications for domestic economic strategies and processes in India.
Mining as Primitive Accumulation
Jul 20th 2010, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The mining sector is increasingly seen as one in which the worst features of capitalism as a profit machine combine with illegality and corruption to provide a site for primitive accumulation based on plunder and unequal exchange.
Sharing Profits from Gas
Aug 18th 2009, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The ambivalence in government position in the long-drawn out conflict between RIL and RNRL, on the issue of the pricing of gas, reflects the changed relationship between the state and private capital in India ever since ''reform'' began. In the new world order the state works to rescue and strengthen private capital, even while it declares that the rest of society including the poor and the marginalised have to learn to deal with a world of market mediated relationships.
Tata Rides the Recession
Jun 17th 2009, C.P. Chandrasekhar
With the expensive acquisitions of Anglo-Dutch steel major Corus and luxury automobile brands Jaguar and Land Rover in quick succession on the eve of the global financial crisis, the TATA group faced difficulties as the debt level of both the parent and the UK subsidiaries in the group was on a rise. However, it is noteworthy how the TATA group has escaped a group-wide crisis by leveraging its brand, the Indian government and the Indian public.
The Industrial Recession: New or Ongoing?
Nov 18th 2008, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
Current economic problems in the Indian economy are being presented by the government as created entirely by the direct and indirect effects of the global financial crisis. Even the industrial slowdown is being blamed on the adverse impact of the global slowdown upon manufacturing exports. However, the official data suggest that the industrial slowdown began well before the effects of the external crisis began to be felt in India.
Prospect of an Industrial Recession
Nov 4th 2008, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
Some observers are of the view that the sharp fall in the month-on-month annual rate of industrial growth in August 2008 exaggerates the actual and likely slow down in industrial growth. This article discusses why the broad trend suggested by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) may not be too far off the mark.
Employment and the Pattern of Growth
Oct 8th 2008, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
A much discussed aspect of post-reform industrial performance is the stagnation of employment in the organised manufacturing sector, despite high rates of output growth. The authors examine this performance and relate this to the composition of growth in the registered manufacturing sector, and suggest that demand-side factors may have an important explanatory role.
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