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Message from ADB's President

Executive Summary and Recommendations
Jeffrey D. Sachs, Masahiro Kawai, Jong-Wha Lee, and Wing Thye Woo

Paper Summaries (full papers downloadable)

International Monetary Advisory Group

  1. Global Financial Crisis, its Impact on India and the Policy Response
    Nirupam Bajpai
  2. To What Extent Should Capital Flows be Regulated?
    Maria Socorro Gochoco-Bautista
  3. The Case for a Further Global Coordinated Fiscal Stimulus
    Willem Buiter
  4. Managing a Multiple Reserve Currency World
    Barry Eichengreen
  5. From the Chiang Mai Initiative to an Asian Monetary Fund
    Masahiro Kawai
  6. An Asian Currency Unit for Asian Monetary Integration
    Masahiro Kawai
  7. The International Monetary System at a Crossroad
    Felipe Larrain B.
  8. Towards a New Global Reserve System
    Joseph Stiglitz
  9. A Realistic Vision of Asian Economic Integration
    Wing Thye Woo
  10. An Asian Monetary Unit?
    Charles Wyplosz
  11. Will US fiscal Deficits Undermine the Role of the Dollar as Global Reserve Currency? If So, Should US Fiscal Policy be geared to Preserving the International Role of the Dollar?
    Yongding Yu

International Monetary Working Group

  1. International Reserves and Swap Lines: the Recent Experience
    Joshua Aizenman, Donghyun Park and Yothin Jinjarak
  2. The Future of the Global Reserve System
    Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi, Anton Brender, and Florence Pisani
  3. Renminbi Policy and the Global Currency System
    Yiping Huang
  4. Will the Renminbi Emerge as an International Reserve Currency?
    Jong-Wha Lee
  5. Asia's Sovereign Wealth Funds and Reform of the Global Reserve System
    Donghyun Park and Andrew Rozanov
  6. Reforming International Monetary System
    Kanhaiya Singh
  7. Designing a Regional Surveillance Mechanism for East Asia: Lessons from IMF Surveillance
    Shinji Takagi

« Executive Summary and Recommendations 2. To What Extent Should Capital Flows be Regulated? »

1. Global Financial Crisis, its Impact on India and the Policy Response

Nirupam Bajpai

India could not insulate itself from the adverse developments in the international financial markets, despite having a banking and financial system that had little to do with investments in structured financial instruments carved out of subprime mortgages, whose failure had set off the chain of events culminating in a global crisis. Economic growth decelerated in 2008-09 to 6.7 percent. This represented a decline of 2.1 percent from the average growth rate of 8.8 percent in the previous five years.

To counter the negative fallout of the global slowdown on the Indian economy, the federal government responded by providing three focused fiscal stimulus packages in the form of tax relief to boost demand and increased expenditure on public projects to create employment and public assets. India’s central Bank – the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) took a number of monetary easing and liquidity enhancing measures to facilitate flow of funds from the financial system to meet the needs of productive sectors. This fiscal accommodation led to an increase in fiscal deficit from 2.7 percent in 2007-08 to 6.2 percent of GDP in 2008-09. The difference between the actual figures of 2007-08 and 2008-09 constituted the total fiscal stimulus. This stimulus at current market prices amounted to 3.5 percent of GDP for 2008-09. These measures were effective in arresting the fall in the growth rate of GDP in 2008-09 and India achieved a growth rate of 6.7 percent.

From all accounts, except for the agricultural sector as noted above, economic recovery seems to be well underway. Economic growth stood at 7 percent during the first half of the current fiscal year and the advance estimates for GDP growth for 2009-10 is 7.2 percent. The recovery in GDP growth for 2009-10, as indicated in the advance estimates, is broad based. Seven out of eight sectors/sub-sectors show a growth rate of 6.5 percent or higher. The exception, as anticipated, is agriculture and allied sectors where the growth rate is estimated to be minus 0.2 percent over 2008-09. Sectors including mining and quarrying; manufacturing; and electricity, gas and water supply have significantly improved their growth rates at over 8 percent in comparison with 2008-09. When compared to countries across the world, India stands out as one of the best performing economies. Although there is a clear moderation in growth from 9 percent levels to 7+ percent, the pace still makes India the fastest growing major economy after the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Considering the current inflationary strains, the as yet excessive pre-emption of the community’s savings by the government, the potential for crowding out the requirements of the enterprise sector, and rising interest payments on government debt, it is extremely essential to reduce the fiscal deficit, and more aggressively, mainly by lowering the revenue deficit. Correction of these deficits would, inter alia, require considerable refocusing and reduction of large hidden subsidies associated with under-pricing in crucial areas, such as power, irrigation, and urban transport. Food and fertilizer subsidies are other major areas of expenditure control. Be that as it may, the process of fiscal consolidation needs to be accelerated through more qualitative adjustments to reduce government dissavings and ameliorate price pressures.

The step-up in India's growth rate over much of the last two decades was primarily due to the structural changes in industrial, trade and financial areas, among others, over the 1990s as the reforms in these sectors were wide and deep and hence contributed significantly to higher productivity of the economy. Indeed, there is potential for still higher growth on a sustained basis of 9+ percent in the years ahead, but among other things, this would require the following: 1) revival and a vigorous pursuit of economic reforms at the center and in the states; 2) a major effort at raising the rate of domestic savings, especially by reducing government dissavings at the central and state levels through cuts in, and refocusing of, explicit and implicit subsidies, stricter control over non-developmental expenditures, improvements in the tax ratio through stronger tax enforcement, and strengthening incentives for savings; 3) larger investments in, and better performance of, infrastructural services, both in the public and private sectors; and 4) greater attention to, and larger resources for, agriculture, social sectors and rural development programs to increase employment, reduce poverty and for creating a mass base in support of economic reforms.

If India does attain and sustain growth rates of around 9+ percent that it had achieved prior to the crisis, this itself is likely to push up its domestic savings in the next few years. Besides, stronger growth should attract more foreign savings, especially foreign direct investment, and thus raise the investment rate.

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