Kopi Time E085 - Ila Patnaik on India’s Economy and the Politics of Welfare Delivery

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Ila Patnaik, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group, joins Kopi Time to discuss a number of pertinent aspects of India’s economy. We talk about the current macro situation in the face of rising interest rates and tensions in the currency market. We then move on to India’s somewhat restrained policy response during the pandemic, and the expedited embrace of digital payments and service delivery. Ila is a realist on the frictional cost of economic formalisation, recognising that there will be losers. The challenge then becomes to ensure a minimal safety net for those being left behind. She is optimistic about the investment outlook but also cautious about absorptive capacity. From her perspective, 3-4% of GDP worth of FDI is fine, but more than that would be problematic to manage. We then discuss the state of financial sector reform, something Ila has been involved with for over a decade. We move on to discuss Ila’s book, co-written with union minister Bhupender Yadav, The Rise of the BJP: The Making of the World's Largest Political Party, which examines the politics of welfare payments. Ila points out the benefits that come from corruption-free, efficient social service delivery and frequent social audits, which is a valuable lesson for modern democratic parties. We end with Ila’s vision for India, which is highly promising to her due to a massive demographic advantage. This key to maintain a well-educated, healthy, and aspirational population.

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