Decoding India’s Withdrawal from the RCEP

By Biswajit Dhar | Commentary | November 8, 2019

India’s withdrawal from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the 16-country mega-regional trade agreement in East Asia and also the world’s largest trading bloc, must be seen as evidence that in India, strong voices from the stakeholders can make their impact felt on the government’s decision-making. Few realised that it was the first time in post-independence India, a cross-section of domestic constituencies, including farmers, trade unions, representatives of major sectors of Indian industry and civil society organisations, spoke in one voice against the threats to their future posed by the RCEP.

They gave a clear message that the ceding the country’s economic space to foreign…

Wanted: A Visionary to Transform the IMF

By Kavaljit Singh | Letter (FT) | August 14, 2019

John Taylor (“Choice of new IMF head must not be dictated by the old EU order”, August 12) points out that the International Monetary Fund needs new leadership from outside the European bloc to address the multiple challenges facing the world today. As I have spent a considerable part of my professional life in opposing the outdated convention that a European leads the IMF while an American heads the World Bank, I think that the job should go the person who could usher in a fundamental change in the fund’s policy outlook besides restoring its credibility.

There is a long list of failed IMF…

50 Years of Bank Nationalization: A Peek into Social and Development Banking

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | July 19, 2019

Fifty years ago, on July 19, 1969, Indira Gandhi, who was both Prime Minister and Finance Minister at that time, decided to nationalize 14 major privately-owned commercial banks of India. Banks with a deposit base of over Rs500 million were selected for nationalization while foreign banks were excluded. Six more private banks were later nationalized in 1980.

Analysts have described the nationalization of banks as the most significant economic event after India’s independence in 1947. But if we look globally, state ownership of banks and financial institutions was the norm during the 1960s and 70s. In the post-World War II period, state-ownership of banking witnessed…

“Greening” the Belt and Road Initiative? What about People’s Rights?

By CSOs | Statement | May 30, 2019

The second Belt and Road Summit took place in Beijing, China from 25 to 27 April 2019, two years after the first summit was held. Attended by 38 head of states from around the world, United Nation’s Secretary General António Guterres and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, this year’s summit was bigger than the first.

A joint communique issued at the close of the first summit stated, among other things, that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to advance global value chains and supply chain connectivity. It also said BRI would ensure the protection of the environment, biodiversity, and natural resources, and address the…

A Manifesto for Trade Justice

By Forum Against FTAs | Manifesto | March 19, 2019

Following is the text of a manifesto for trade justice released by Forum Against FTAs – a network of India’s civil society organisations, trade unions, farmers’ groups, and concerned citizens – on the eve of the 2019 general elections urging all political parties to take a people-centric approach on trade policy and to institutionalise transparency in the process of India’s trade negotiations:

India is a huge country with great development potential. However, for this potential to be realised, Indian people must gain equitably from development, and development must serve the best interests of our people, including our farmers, workers, fisherfolk, traders, local industries, etc. We cannot blindly…