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Madan Sabnavis

Articles By Madan Sabnavis

393 Articles

How to distribute Covid-19 vaccines

Prioritising states will need to balance many considerations, including population, share of infections in total population, share in overall infections in the country, etc

Ringside View | Book Review — India’s Power Elite: Class, Caste and a Cultural Revolution by Sanjaya Baru

An insider’s account of the wheeling and dealing in the country’s power circles

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi Express photo

Gold exchange a good idea

The proposed gold exchange will open competition across modes in which the metal is transacted

Gold price

The Power of Six | Book Review — Rethinking Competitive Advantage: New Rules for the Digital Age by Ram Charan

A book outlines six principles which can be applied to any company that wants to be competitive

Jack Ma had no knowledge of technology, but was able to conceive algorithms to gather, process and transmit digital information of all products and customers across his network to create Alibaba Reuters

What to make of RBI’s QE: The govt was the winner in 2020 and is so again, in the latest round

The curious part of this QE exercise was that all these measures were invoked at a time when there was surplus liquidity in the system.

The regulator has imposed penalty after considering the bank’s reply to the showcause notice, oral submissions made during the personal hearing and examination of further clarifications/documents furnished by the lender. 

Book Review: The Fail-Safe Startup by Tom Eisenmann

A book provides a clear view of why startups fail and how they can avoid the pitfalls

The author is a professor at Harvard Business School who has taught the course on 'entrepreneurial manager' and has been an angel investor in some startups.

Poll Position: Making sense of elections and Covid-19 numbers

Kerala's share in the April-over-March increase in the country's Covid-19 cases stayed virtually flat, TN's rose by 0.9 ppts, WB's by 2.4 ppts and UP's, a scary 7.9 ppts

The accompanying table looks at infection information over March and April.

Covid-19: How to meet vaccine costs?

If 140 crore citizens were to get two shots (in reality, 18 years is the cut-off, so 40% are excluded) at a manufacturing cost of, say, Rs 500 at the upper limit, then the cost would be Rs 1.4 lakh crore (0.7% of nominal GDP)

As this may be a two-year exercise, Rs 70,000 crore per year is doable, and the split between the Centre and states will make it not more than 0.35% of GDP. The other route is to have differential pricing for the population based on the ability to pay

‘Alien Thinking: How to Bring Your Breakthrough Ideas to Life’ (Book Review): Getting out of the box

An interesting read on how makeshift ideas can lead to long-lasting innovation

Bertrand Piccard created a solar-powered craft capable of flying around the world without fuel (AP photo)

M Narasimham (1927-2021): The father of banking reforms

On the whole, M Narasimham would have been satisfied with the progress made in reforming banking in India, given the socio-economic conditions in the economy where it is not easy to change systems easily. Where it was urgent,

The first relates to privatisation of PSBs. This is something that the government is looking at seriously, as per the Union Budget of 2021-22.

Robert Mundell (1932-2021): Mundell can never be forgotten

Robert Mundell may not be as famous as John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman, but holds an important place in the pantheon of economists, and the ‘impossible trinity’ will be something that will never move out from the d

Lockdowns Again: Back to the start?

The economic impact of the current lockdowns will be significant, though not as sharp as that of last year

For a country that is still struggling to deliver vaccines to the public, distributing this amount will be a big challenge as beneficiaries have to be identified.

Stock market beats the virus

All through the year, the markets were not too much enthused by government policies as the series of announcements made under Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign drew an indifferent response. The same was with the Union Budget. There

The market does not really bother about the level of infections, and while there are a couple of sessions that witness a decline in the Sensex, it is back to business

Cash Reserve Ratio: Should the CRR be retained?

It can be argued that the CRR should remain, and RBI has been fair to banks as the cost of the CRR is permitted to be included in the calculation of the base rate and the MCLR.

Therefore, the cost is loaded finally to the borrower and not really borne by the bank exclusively; globally, the CRR exists and is as high as 17% in Brazil, 11% in China and 8% in Russia. In India it will soon be 4%. It is nil in the US, 1% in the UK and 2.5% in South Africa

‘Non Obvious Mega Trends’ (Book Review): The times they are a-changin’

The world is dynamic, and businesses have to keep pace, especially with technology

A file photo of a worker assembling commercial data servers for cloud computing at a Hewlett-Packard manufacturing facility in Houston, US (Reuters)

Why are PSB staff wary?

From their perspective, once government-owned banks are privatised, there is nothing to stop the staff from being rationalised through VRS programmes, which, as seen in some of the leading private sector banks, has always bee

From Incremental to Exponential review: Another guide on how companies should proceed to remain relevant

Yet another reinforcement of the importance of adapting to change

Amazon is a great example of a company that has brought about innovation by leveraging technology (Reuters)

Need to make cryptocurrency illegal: An ‘official cryptocurrency’ can create confusion & unease amongst citizens

The fight against black money is still on and tax data does not show that there has been encouraging success in this area. Under these conditions, it is best to keep away from cryptocurrencies and illegalise the same.

Allowing a parallel currency system is, therefore, antithetical, besides being a danger.

The economics of petrol pricing

The excise rate, levied on a per-unit basis, has been in the range of Rs 18-20 for 2018, 2019 and the first half of 2020.

This break-up in price can be traced back over the last three years.

Privatisation this time, not disinvestment

The path towards total privatisation does involve breaking ideological shibboleths that have been built since Independence. At the same time, is it necessary for the government to actually sell stake to get private ethics in

This makes a lot of sense, and as the finance minister spoke of the concept during the Atmanirbhar series, it does appear that the government is keen on moving out of some companies.

Beyond Covid’s Shadow review: Group of luminaries examine the pandemic’s economic and social impact

A group of luminaries come together with their diverse voices to examine the pandemic’s economic and social impact

Baru has his say in his essay, where he openly says that the lockdown was draconian, as it affected people’s lives and the economy.

No laughing matter: Why India Inc needs to recognise power of humour, levity

A little bit of humour can go a long way in building better relations in the workplace too

A file photo of Richard Branson who is known for his sense of the dramatic (Image:Reuters)

G-Secs: Retail investors may not prefer government bonds

The government can consider issuing bonds for roads or railways as part of the Rs 12 lakh crore programme to retail investors with a simple payoff matrix. Tax-free bonds have resonated well with investors, so too would these

There is scope to think differently when planning convergence between retail investors and government borrowing through these special bonds

Union Budget FY22 not as fiscally expansionary as believed initially

Union Budget 2021 India: Interest payments excluded, the expenditure budgeted for FY22 is slightly lower than FY21 expenditure (RE). So, Bugdet FY22 is not as fiscally expansionary as believed by some

The other big proposals relate to asset monetisation and disinvestment, which is now being called privatisation to signal a change in ideology.

Draft NBFC norms: How to ensure compliance

It is hard to have a fool-proof system that cannot be dodged by determined participants. This has happened in banking as well as NBFCs, and having stringent regulation is only one part of the story.

The regulatory changes proposed have been clubbed under capital regulation, concentration norms, governance and disclosures.

External commercial borrowings decoded

A handy manual on the issues and pitfalls concerning external commercial borrowing

The RBI building in Mumbai (Image: Bloomberg)

Recovery on fast track, need to see if it would create more jobs: Economic Survey of India

This is where the GDP growth of 15.4% in nominal terms represents as it lays down the base for the Budget as the size of the Budget is linked to this number.

In a way this number becomes the pivot for all allocations under expenditure as well as tax revenue.
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