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…

Read More |

“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…

Read More |

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…

Read More |

It Seems the FSB Has Been Fighting the Last War

By Kavaljit Singh | Letter (FT) | March 12, 2019

At last, the Financial Stability Board has woken up to assess the potential financial stability risks emanating from leveraged loans that currently stand at more than $1.3tn (“Watchdog turns up heat on leveraged loan industry as high risk debt soars”, March 8).  Since 2010, leveraged lending issuance has witnessed a rapid growth as yield-hungry investors rushed to grab the specialist loan vehicles — collateralised loan obligations.

What is worrisome is not merely the magnitude of outstanding debt, but the deteriorating underwriting standards for leveraged loans. Close to 80 per cent of outstanding US leveraged loans are covenant-lite, placing fewer restrictions on the borrowers and lesser…

Read More |

CSOs Demand a Complete Overhaul of the ISDS System

By CSOs | Letter | October 30, 2018

More than 300 civil society groups and trade unions from 73 countries – including Madhyam – have urged governments participating in United Nations meetings in Vienna this week to completely overhaul the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system contained within many international trade and investment agreements. Released on October 30, their public letter is addressed to member governments attending meetings of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which provides one set of rules under which many ISDS cases are litigated. After years of public outcry against ISDS, UNCITRAL has decided to convene a working group to engage in a discussion about the…

Read More |