On February 5, the Australia India Institute hosted a Keywords for India public lecture by Dr Amitendu Palit, a Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead on trade and economic policy at the Institute of South Asian Studies based at the National University of Singapore.
Dr Palit explored the issue of ‘Governance’, with a particular reference to farm loan waivers. The speaker emphasised that, regardless of ideology, political parties across India have been engaged in a ‘populist race to the bottom’ by waiving substantial amounts of agricultural loans. In some instances, this practice had jeopardised state or national balance sheets.
A former economist with India’s Ministry of Finance, Dr Palit argued convincingly that farm loan waivers are not a solution to the long-term objective of raising farmer incomes and alleviating rural distress. Instead, he suggested that market reforms and foreign investment should be harnessed to allow farmers to fetch higher prices for their products.
Prior to the public lecture, Dr Palit published a related article on the Institute’s Indian Election Series – a joint initiative with the Melbourne School of Government’s Election Watch
Missed the lecture? Watch it below!