Madan Sabnavis

Articles By Madan Sabnavis

375 Articles

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.

Managing QE rollback the Indian way

RBI’s calibrated measures will likely be able to address the issue of an increase in demand for funds from both the govt and the private sector in FY22

The defining features of the so-called QE, which came with a combination of instruments, are provided in the accompanying graphic; the QE had started even before the pandemic had set in.

Moderate your expectations from the Budget

Union Budget 2021 India: While sectors may want more from the government in terms of policies, there have already been myriad policy announcements since May 2020 for various sectors and hence it would not be realistic to expe

The Budget anyway is merely a statement of account of the government, and tax rates are outside its purview because of the GST regime

An outro for 2020—The varying notes: A look at the big things economic in the year gone by, drawing from music

‘Top of the charts’ is the Delhi rondo, with farmers gathered to protest against the farm Bills. Everyone is arguing with everyone else on this issue, and a fairly pragmatic policy put up by the government has now been op

The year was not without its top-10 compositions in the economic field.

The not so common sense

A book on innovation in business illustrates how simple application of mind is often missed in business models and strategies

Agri reforms: Should we do away with minimum support price?

The government is working to deepen the commodity derivatives market—a replica of the MSP system. Farmers, through the FPOs, should be nudged to the exchanges to hedge their risks and move towards a diversified crop base

At an ideological level, an interesting conundrum comes to the forefront.

Piketty is right, inequality has risen

Opening up of the economy in India has led to concentration of income at the top 10% level

Budget 2021-22, Union Budget 2021

Recovery hurdles: The salary-cut cloud on consumption

Unless salaries get restored (and then increase) and new jobs are created, the momentum consumption acquired in the festive season won’t sustain

‘The Next Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy’: Interesting back stories on everyday mundane objects keep the reader hooked, and wanting more

This book is not just interesting and educative, but could also be used in schools where children must navigate inventions in a rather mundane way. Clearly there are better ways of conveying these stories, and Harford excels

A technician monitors cryptocurrency mining rigs in Quebec, Canada. The author discusses blockchain, which has become quite revolutionary thanks to bitcoin Bloomberg

Let RBI make money from forex reserves

If we are not averse to the concept of RBI deploying excess forex reserves for commercial returns, there are strong grounds for the central bank to explore such options

Why Donald Trump clicked with Americans

His America First, anti-immigrant, anti-multilateral fora rhetoric seems to be working at a time when globalisation has failed millions in the US & elsewhere

donald trump, US president, investments, fdi, fii, green energy, make in india

The truth about farm loan waivers

Farm loan waivers are customised schemes announced by states to help the peasants. The quantum announced is impressive, but the actual amount disbursed is much lower. Further, it gets spread over a period of 2-5 years for a v

Book Review: The Power of Not Thinking by Simon Roberts

An argument for embodied experience and how our body uses information effectively

One of the features of embodied knowledge that the author has outlined is ‘practice’. This can be seen in how Roger Federer plays his shots not by the book but body (Reuters Image)

Economics Nobel winners Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson: Designing the right auction to solve conundrums

The major challenge is to eschew the winner’s curse, and here the laureates argue that the best way out is to place bids below their estimate of the common value

One may recollect that the controversies around the irregularities in sale of coal blocks or spectrum in India had moved the needle to having more transparent auctions.

Loan repayment moratorium: Govt paying ‘interest on interest’ is good

The lockdown affected many businesses in ways that made servicing debt difficult; so, this is a good proposal. Interest subvention for those that made timely payments avoids skewing the playing field and preempts any moral ha

The new scheme covers the interest on interest, and not the principal or the interest. Hence, it is of a much smaller scale.

Shape of recovery does not matter

U-shaped or V-shaped or W-shaped recovery is nothing but an optical delight. FY21 will be the one where there was economic destruction, FY22 an apology for a recovery, and we may have to look for real growth only in FY23, ass

The farm reforms must be celebrated

The three agri-reforms that have been brought about will be quite positive for the agri-economy, and assurance that the MSP-based procurement system won’t be withdrawn. Of course, if the system works well for farmers, the g

Book review: The shackles of liberalism

Pankaj Mishra writes how tenets of a western world are promoting unequal societies and economies

A file photo of people carrying a banner reading ‘Empower The Future’ during a demonstration in London. Policies in the so-called free enterprise economies are always skewed towards capitalists, the author says bloomberg

Reviving growth: India’s not well placed in the global context

A fiscal stimulus can be considered as being expedient under present conditions as there is no other way out. Growth is something outside our control today, which also means that employment will be a challenge for the rest of

Even when looked at in terms of growth on quarter-on-quarter basis, the picture is the same, with Indian growth declining by 69.4% and Peru’s by 72.4%.