This volume brings together selected essays and my lectures on a variety of topics in the past four years. The idea of putting together such a volume was first put forward to me by Shri Sukumar Das and Shri Vivek Ahuja of UBS Publishers. I am thankful to them for their initiative, and for publishing the book in its present form.
In selecting the essays and lectures for publication, I was principally guided by two considerations. The first was to cover different subject areas that may be of interest to the general reader in addition to experts on money and finance. This volume, therefore, includes papers on the Indian economy, the broader issues of development policy, emerging challenges for management, the role of science and technology, and the on-going debate on a new international financial architecture. Some short pieces on contemporary policy issues, such as, globalization, exchange rate management, inflation targets, and information technology also find a place. A second consideration was to try and make this volume relevant to the contemporary and on-going debate on India's approach to economic reforms in the new millennium.
In selecting the lectures for publication, an attempt was also made to avoid unnecessary duplication and coverage of the same material in more than one place. This was not an easy task as, in my present official capacity, I am called upon to speak on subjects related to banking and finance on several occasions in different parts of the country and abroad. Except for some overlap of ideas and record of recent developments, I hope I have succeeded in avoiding too much repetition.
Flap of the cover
This volume of collected essays covers a variety of subjects - ranging from banking and finance to science and development. The common thread that binds the diversity of the topics is India's past record and present policies in the macro, micro and meso economic spheres. Without being apologetic about India's past records, these essays probe into the analytics of some select areas in policy-making in the Indian economy.
The first essay in the volume flags the issues relating to strength and shortcomings of recent prospects of India's economy and attempts to present a futuristic scenario. Against the eclectic background of the affiliation between finance and development, there are three essays delving into two distinct but interrelated concerns, viz., the perspective of the developing countries about the international financial architecture, and the present and future of the Indian banking and financial system. These apart, the essay on the management challenges in a globalizing economy highlights the implications of the recent global developments for Indian corporates and policy-makers, while the paper on science, technology and development puts the issues relating to India's technology capabilities and related policies in contemporary global and domestic perspective.
Besides these major papers, the collection includes six short comments spanning as diverse areas as globalization, cost of delays in India's financial contracts and settlement of liquidation procedure, public vis-à-vis private sector in investors' choice, the rationale of recent exchange rate management and monetary policy (primarily questioning the necessity of inflation targeting) in India, and the two-way interface between information technology and global macroeconomic development, including the special role of information technology in banking.