How India Should Handle the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Biswajit Dhar | Commentary | March 26, 2020

In the face of mounting COVID-19 cases in the country, the central and most state governments have acted with alacrity and a sense of purpose to ensure that the rapid spread of the deadly virus can be controlled. The central government has taken a string of proactive measures ranging from the screening of potential carriers of the virus to spreading the message of social distancing so that the dreaded next step of the spread of the virus through community transmission can be drastically reduced. The Central government has enforced social distancing by declaring a lockdown in the entire country until mid-April.

Yet another positive step…

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Whither New Integrated Policy Framework of the IMF?

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | February 28, 2020

Last week, Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, announced that the IMF is rethinking and updating its policy advice to emerging markets with an improved new integrated policy framework. In an op-ed piece in Financial Times (February 19), she wrote: “We are rethinking and updating our advice to member countries. Our goal is to provide country-specific advice on the appropriate mix of policies needed to preserve growth and financial stability. Our new “integrated policy framework” will reassess the costs and benefits of four tools — monetary policy, macroprudential policy, exchange rate interventions and capital flow measures — to help…

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US-China Trade Deal Comes with Caveats

By Kavaljit Singh | Letter (FT) | January 23, 2020

Martin Wolf rightly points out that the US-China trade deal is a partial and defective truce  (January 22). The deal not only keeps in place the bulk of tariffs that were imposed on each other’s products during the trade war but repackages many commitments already made by China unilaterally or at international forums towards establishing a more market-based economy. Nevertheless, the trade deal raises two critical issues.

First, can China force its domestic companies (mostly privately owned) to buy an additional $200bn worth of goods and services from the US instead of from other trading partners with which the country has signed free…

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The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | January 18, 2020

On January 15, the US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed a “phase one” trade agreement to de-escalate an 18-month trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. After months of tough negotiations and retaliatory trade actions, both countries agreed to proceed ahead with the “phase one” trade agreement. The core elements of the “phase one” trade agreement include intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, currency, and exchange rate policies. Besides, the deal establishes a bilateral dispute resolution arrangement to resolve any disputes on matters listed in the agreement. The full text of the agreement is available here.

In his…

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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…

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