Conference on Finance & Economy in India

29th & 30th November, 2023 | 10 am – 6 pm

Measuring Recovery

Venue: Jawahar Bhawan, New Delhi

Centre for Financial Accountability | Economic Research Foundation | Focus on the Global South


Day 1
29th November, 2023 | Wednesday

10:00 a.m-11:30 a.m

Release of the
State of Finance in India Report 2022-23
Co-compiled by Centre for Financial Accountability, Economic Research
Foundation & Focus on the Global South
Published by: Yoda Press
Keynote Address
To be released by
CP Chandrasekhar, Economic Research Foundation.
Mansi Sharma, Focus on the Global South.
Joe Athialy, Centre for Financial Accountability.
Arpita Das, Yoda Press.
Anirban Bhattacharya, Centre for Financial Accountability.

11:30 a.m-12:00 a.m – Tea Break

12:00 p.m – 1:30 p.m.

Session 1
Interrogating the numbers

The theme of the first session will deal with critically evaluating the official estimates of growth. It will also interrogate the claims of “sabka saath” through critically evaluating the numbers when it comes to welfare expenditure. The other number that affects the poor the most involves the cost of living crisis. We would also attempt to evaluate whether the monetary policy fixes from the RBI in terms of repo rates are adequate to address the crisis. Overall the session would attempt to critically analyse the macro data-based claims being made in recent times about the purported economic recovery.

Testing the official Claims on Recovery (Growth, Poverty, GST and the unorganized sector)
Arun Kumar: Retired Professor of Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is the author of `Demonetization and Black Economy’

Macroeconomic management and performance in contemporary times
CP Chandrasekhar: Senior economist. Economic Research Foundation

Welfare spending and the cost of living crisis: Interrogating “Sabka Saath” through numbers
Asmi Sharma and Nancy Pathak: Asmi Sharma, Jan Sarokar. Nancy Pathak, Researcher, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA)

Sonal Raghuvanshi: She is a heterodox political economist and is working & helping build the New Political Economy Initiative at IIT, Bombay.

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Lunch

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Session 2
Is it K-shaped? Unequal Recovery and its Costs

While official claims have been since the pandemic trying to project a V-shaped recovery, it has become far less tenable in recent times as consumption and import data seem to suggest a splurging top thin layer and a bottom that is curtailing demand. In the second session we will also discuss how the crisis affects the marginalised sections disproportionately and hence any assessment of recovery needs to take the differential impact into consideration. The session will try to analyse what contributes to this K-shaped recovery and whether relying on the corporates to unleash their “animal spirits” is yielding any results despite the incentives offered to them.

Food security competes with warped priorities: Has the NFSA been able to aid the recovery from hunger?
Nandini Nayak: Assistant Professor at the School of Development Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD).

“Champions or corporate cronies” – Are we relying on the top for recovery?
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta: Senior journalist, writer, publisher, documentary filmmaker and teacher. He has taught at IIM Ahmedabad, at the IIMs at Calcutta and Shillong, University of Delhi, JNU, Asian College of Journalism, Jamia Milia etc.

Have we budgeted enough for the marginalized communities to recover from the crisis?
Pritika Pariyar: Reasearch Officer, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights

Unequal life chances: youth and growing inequality in India
Harsh Mander: Senior human rights activist. Started the Karwan-e-Mohabbat campaign in solidarity with the victims of communal or religiously motivated violence.

Amrita Johri: National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information and Satark Nagrik Sangathan.

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm – Tea Break

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Session 3
How far is credit aiding recovery?

In the third session, we will analyse if our policy orientation in terms of banking & finance is geared towards actually aiding recovery of those most in need? This will require an assessment of priority sector lending and credit to marginalised communities. We will study the impact of usurious rates of interest charged in rural areas suffering from chronic indebtedness. The session will also critically evaluate the claims around disappearing NPAs when seen in conjunction with the status of corporate write-offs and willful defaulters.

Worsening rural debt crisis: Indebtedness and usurious rates
Devidas Tuljapurkar: Joint Secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association and a former director of the Bank of Maharashtra.

Corporate Write-offs: the magic wand of “banking miracle”
Surajit Mazumdar: Professor. Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences. JNU.

Caste and Credit: Scheduled Caste and access to bank credit
Arvind Pandey: Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy and Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad

Thomas Franco: Former General Secretary AIBOC and a Joint Convenor, People First

Day 2
30th November, 2023 | Thursday

10:00 a.m-11:30 a.m

Session 4
Distress under the surface? Labour, Wages & Social Protection

Despite the claims of fastest recovery among top economies, the same does not seem to be matched by the employment figures and the real wages that are failing to catch up with inflation. The fourth session will analyse the reality of labour, employment and social protection with special focus on the labour force participation of women. The session will also throw light on the prospects and challenges of the gig-economy and the role of regulations and social security therein.

Chronic unemployment, fall in real wages & inadequate social protection
Mrinalini Jha: Assistant Professor of Economics, Jindal School of Banking and Finance, O. P. Jindal Global University

The digital workforce: prospects and challenges
Raghav Mahrotra: Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Researches on digital labour platforms and the digital economy.

Alarmingly low labour force participation of women
Dipa Sinha: Assistant Professor, School of Liberal Studies, Ambedkar University Delhi.

Praveen Jha: Professor at Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University

11:30 am – 12:00 pm – Tea Break

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Session 5
“Capex-led recovery”: an ill-fated development trajectory?

One of the big claims involving big money in the story of recovery is the capex push in recent years since the pandemic. The fifth session will analyse the effectiveness of such a drive and will also question the emphasis on capital over social infrastructure in the context of recovery. In this session we will also delve into the implications on both people and ecology of the clearances and amendments being made to facilitate such infrastructure. This would also provide insights into how investments into development without strong social and environmental safeguards pose a long term threat to our hills, forests and coasts.

What kind of infrastructure did we need for recovery?
Chirashree Dasgupta: Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Amendments, Clearance Raj: Endangering ecology and people
Ritwick Dutta: Founder of LIFE and currently heads the organization as Managing Trustee.

FDIs, Development finance, and lack of safeguards threatening the hills and the coasts
Amitanshu Verma: Researcher, Centre for Financial Accountability

Manshi Asher: Environmental justice activist and researcher, Himdhara, an Environment Research and Action Collective

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – Lunch

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Session 6
Fractured Recovery: Socio-economic toll of divisive politics

Studies showed how hate had a role to play in the disproportionately adverse impact on the livelihoods of Muslims during the pandemic. The structural exclusion and ghettoization of the community has had a strong imprint on its development which seems to have further worsened. In the last session on fractured recovery, we will try to understand how divisive politics – boycotts, shutdowns, bans, cow vigilantism, terror, demolitions and violence – being pursued would be affecting the Muslims economically.

Understanding Socio-economic Discrimination & Exclusion of Muslims
Ghazala Jamil and Khawla Zainab: Ghazala Jamil is Assistant Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Khawla Zainab is a PhD candidate at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford

Muslim minorities and the Systematic Discrimination in the implementation of Govt schemes
Sazid Ali: Completed Phd in Political Science at JNU and currently working as a senior researcher at the SPECT Foundation.

Muslims and financial inclusion
Shagishna K: PhD Scholar, Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation

Fatima Khan: Journalist. Covers politics, communalism and social justice for The Quint.

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State of Finance in India Report, 2022-23.
This is the second edition of the report and comes at a juncture when one of the components of the polycrisis that the world faces, is climate crisis. Over the last few years climate finance has emerged as a focal point of international discussions. The divide between the advanced capitalist countries and the global south; the contradictions between a market based approach and a structural overhaul of our growth and energy trajectory; the funding of false solutions versus the idea of just transition – there are a lot of perspectives that clash in this arena of climate finance. It is pertinent to thereby do a critical stock taking of India’s position within this matrix and that is what this edition attempts to do in the first segment. In the second segment called Sectoral Overview the attempt would be to highlight from a critical point of view of finance and economy, the developments at the given point in time across a broad stroke of sectors.