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India - Macroeconomic Challenges, Some Reserve Bank Perspectives


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Speaker(s): Dr Duvvuri Subbarao
Chair: Professor Meghnad Desai

Recorded on 13 March 2013 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

This lecture is in honour of Dr Indraprastha Gordhanbhai (IG) Patel who was the ninth director of LSE from 1984 to 1990.

Over the five years through 2003-08 leading up to the global financial crisis, India clocked an average annual growth of 8.7 per cent on the back of wide ranging structural and policy reforms and growing integration with the global economy. By the year 2008, India was the fourth largest economy in the world in purchasing power parity terms. For a nation that once believed that the ‘Hindu rate of growth’ was its destiny, this remarkable growth performance became a trigger for setting off aspirations for double-digit growth.

Those aspirations have moderated significantly with growth moderating below trend in the post-crisis period owing to the impact of the global downturn as also a host of domestic policy and operational bottlenecks. The post-crisis period has also been characterized by a large fiscal deficit, historically high current account deficit and inflation persisting above the comfort level. Macroeconomic management during this period has had to contend with balancing between stimulating growth and reining in inflation, dealing with the short-term pressures in external sector without compromising long-term sustainability and returning to a path of fiscal responsibility.

Dr Subbarao, governor of the Reserve Bank of India will reflect on these challenges from the Reserve Bank perspective and illustrate the dilemmas encountered in making policy choices.

Dr Duvvuri Subbarao assumed office as the twenty-second governor of the Reserve Bank of India on 5 September 2008. Prior to this appointment, Dr Subbarao served as finance secretary to the Government of India from April 2007 to September 2008 and as secretary to the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council from March 2005 to March 2007, and was a lead economist in the World Bank (1999 - 2004). Dr Subbarao came into the Reserve Bank just a week before the global financial crisis erupted in full in mid-September 2008. He led the Reserve Bank’s effort to mitigate the impact of the crisis on India and was actively engaged in the G-20 effort to coordinate an international response to the crisis.

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