“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx


Economists Hit Out Against Move to Privatise Public Sectors Banks

The scale of the recent bank scams and the potential losses faced by banks holding non-performing loans given to some large companies and individuals, has shocked all of us.

However, we are concerned to note that this has become an excuse to demand the privatisation of publicly held banks.

While it is true that the current scam involves Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank, the basic cause is very clearly the inadequate and faulty regulation and monitoring of the banking sector. This affects all banks, regardless of ownership.

But in a curious turn, fraud that was led by and benefited private players pursuing super-profits at any cost is being made the reason for handing control of the nation's savings to the private sector.

Poorly regulated private banks are even more prone to scams and failure, as the financial sector is rife with information asymmetries and market imperfections.

Private profit orientation generates incentives for managements to exploit loopholes in rules and engage in risky behaviour, as shown by US and European bank behaviour leading to the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09.

The bailouts they then require tend to be even more expensive for the public exchequer, because bank runs have to be prevented.

It is worth noting that even a scam as large as the present one has not led to a widespread run on PNB and other banks. This is because of the state guarantee that still generates trust in the public banking system.

In India, before the nationalisation of banks in 1969, there was an average of 35 private bank failures every year. This came down drastically after most of the sector came under public control. After the liberalising reforms of the 1990s, the collapse of the private Global Trust Bank, Times Bank and Centurion Bank (among others) resulted in mergers, with the losses being borne by public sector banks.

At present, several private banks also face large NPAs, often with the same companies that are defaulting on public banks. Some private banks have also been found guilty of providing unsecured loans and ever-greening of loans – both practices that PNB is now accused of.

In fact, because of the opacity of banking practices, public banks are actually easier to regulate than private banks. As a first step to address the problem of NPAs, the Finance Minister should immediately require all banks to publish their lists of wilful defaulters.

Public sector banks in India have played a critical role in financial inclusion, a project that is still far from complete. After nationalisation, there was an increase in rural bank branches and accounts, and an increase in credit to sectors that were ignored earlier, such as agriculture and small-scale enterprises.

Even now, private banks continue to avoid these activities and focus only on higher value borrowers and lenders, thereby excluding the poor.

At this juncture, it is critical to focus on effective regulation and supervision of all banks, and to make the regulatory process stricter as well as more transparent and accountable. Using this crisis to privatise public banks will only make matters much worse.


Prabhat Patnaik, Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and former Vice Chairman, Kerala State Planning Board 

C. P. Chandrasekhar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, , New Delhi 

S.P. Shukla, Former Finance Secretary & Member, Planning Commission, Government of India 

Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Emeritus Professor, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata. 

Abhijit Sen, Former member, Planning Commission and retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Amit Bhaduri, Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

C. Rammanohar Reddy, Readers' Editor, Scroll.in 

Pronab Sen, International Growth Centre, New Delhi and former Chairman, Statistical Commission of India 

Vikas Rawal, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Praveen Jha, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Parthapratim Pal, Professor, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata. 

Byasdeb Dasgupta, University of Kalyani 

Rohit, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Ravi Srivastava, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Indira Hirway, Director and Professor of Economics, Center For Development Alternatives, Ahmedabad. 

Sushil Khanna, Professor, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata. 

Atul Sood, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Biswajit Dhar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Smita Gupta, Independent researcher, New Delhi 

Himanshu, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Mritiunjoy Mohanty, Professor, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata. 

Utsa Patnaik, Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Sudip Chaudhuri, Professor, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata. 

Venkatesh Athreya, former Professor of Economics, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli. 

Ashwani Saith, Professor, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. 

Sunanda Sen, former Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

Sona Mitra, Senior Research Consultant, Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, New Delhi. 

Smitha Francis, Consultant, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi. 

Akhilesh Mishra, University of Delhi 

Ramparasad Sengupta, Emeritus Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University 

Malancha Chakrabarty, Associate Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. 

Reji K. Joseph, Associate Professor, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi. 

Rajeswari Sarala Raina, Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh. 

Dr Jhilam Ray, Assistant Professor, Burdwan University, West Bengal 

Sangeeta Ghosh, Editorial Team, Economic and Political Weekly 

Indranil Chowdhury, Assistant Professor, PGDAV College, University of Delhi, Delhi. 

Dipa Sinha, Ambedkar University Delhi 

Chandra Dutt, Director, Centre of Science and Technology For Rural Development (COSTFORD), Thrissur. Kerala 

Prasenjit Bose, Independent researcher, Kolkata 

Balveer Arora, Professor Emeritus and Chairman, Centre for Multilevel Federalism, New Delhi. 

Amit Shovon Ray, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 

R. Ramakumar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. 

Victor Lewis Anthuvan LIBA 

M G Devasahayam IAS Retd, Economist 

Dinesh Kumar Abrol, Associate Professor, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi. 

Dr. Meera Nangia, University of Delhi. 

Ajitava Raychaudhuri, Professor of Economics, Jadavpur University Kolkata 

K.S. Chalapati Rao, Professor, Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), New Delhi. 

Debarshi Das, IIT Guwahati 

Anamitra Roychowdhury, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 

Malini Chakravarty, Additional Coordinator-Research, a Delhi based not- for-profit policy research organisation 

Kamal Chenoy, JNU, New Delhi 

Kamal Kabra, Institute of Social Sciences 

Ranjanendra Narayan Nag, St. Xavier's College, Kolkata 

Subhanil Chowdhury, Institute for Development Studies Kolkata 

Sudipta Bhattacharyya, Visva Bharati 

Vamsi Vakulabharanam, University of Massachusetts Amherst 

Vrajaindra Upadhyay, IIT Delhi 

Nagaraj Karkada 

Resmi P Bhaskaran, Independent Consultant 

Gorky Chakraborty, IDSK, Kolkata 

Prithviraj Guha , Presidency University, Kolkata 

Rajesh Bhattacharya, IIM, Calcutta 

Ranjanendra Narayan Nag, St. Xavier's College, Kolkata 

Soutrik Basu, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata


  • The Taj That is India
  • The BJP and Triple Talaq
  • Rohingya: A People Condemned!
  • 9 Key Qs Raised on First Day of Aadhaar Hearing in the Supreme Court
  • A Critical Analysis of Delhi's Human Development Index
  • 3 Army Divisions For 300 Terrorists In JK But No End to Violence: Certainly the Answer Does Not Lie in Force
  • 'It is Not the Left But the Congress That's the B-Team of the BJP'
  • Kasganj: A Story of People's Unity Fractured by Engineered Hate and Violence
  • Invisible Children Of Delhi
  • India 81 in Corruption Index, Amongst the "Worst Offenders"
  • Economists Hit Out Against Move to Privatise Public Sectors Banks
  • Tripura Trades Decency For False Eldorado
  • Syria's Bloody War
  • Pakistan And China Fill Space In Maldives Willfully Vacated By India
  • The Big Private Crop Insurance Scam: Farmers Par Premium of Rs 482, Receive Rs 5 as Insurance!
  • US Attack on Syria Violates International Law, Total Hypocrisy
  • Death Penalty Is Not The Answer To Sexual Violence: Implement Justice Verma Committee Report
  • Walls on Every Side: Trying to Get Data in India
  • The Ascent of Multi-Politics In Malaysia
  • Why the Objections to Marxism are Mistaken
  • The Rise and Fall of the Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim
  • BDS Has Placed Israel on Notice
  • Can We Promote Peace in India, Today?
  • Burying The Two-State Solution
  • Corruption And Class Rule
  • Is Ethnic Cleansing Coming to India
  • Our Real Heroes
  • Confronting Journalism's Misogynistic Trolls
  • After 17 Years of War, A Peace Movement Grows in Afghanistan
  • Taking Play Seriously: Time to Make Sports A Fundamental Right!
  • Law Commission Publishes Consultation Paper on Sedition
  • Foreign Policy: Between Folly and Foibles
  • Suu Kyi's Continued Denial And Bangladesh's
  • Economy Crumbles as Fuel Prices Skyrocket, Household Budgets Hit
  • Rupee's New Low: A Dangerous Drift
  • Are We Still Ruled by The British?
  • From Anti-National to Urban Naxal: The Trajectory of Dissent in India
  • Learning the Power of Lies: Facts vs. Falsehoods in the Age of Trump
  • The Indian Economy is in a Tailspin
  • China Walks a Tightrope on The Uighur Muslim Issue
  • Is Ram Mandir a Mere Election Strategy of the BJP?
  • The Harsher Counters of India's Drug Legislations
  • BJP's Election Strategy: Data is the New Opium
  • Geographical Indication - India's Untapped Resource
  • Climate Change to Make Prediction of Furious Storms More Difficult
  • Mountain echoes for India
  • Maldives: Has the Wheel Turned Full Circle?
  • President Sirisena Needs to be Reached Sooner Rather Than Later
  • Plastic Pollution in India
  • Prejudice by Any Name
  • 29 Years After Fall of Berlin Wall, Europe Has 1,000 Km of Walls to Stop Migrants
  • The Leftover Women of Afghanistan
  • Harmony of Music and Politics of Silencing
  • The Economics of Policy: Prohibition and Free Water Supply
  • Threat to Democracy in the Age of Social or Anti-Social Media
  • Intellectual Property- A Vital Discipline
  • What Happened in Britain, and What's Next
  • Assembly Debacle: BJP Got Taken in by Its Own Fake News
  • India: Secular Democracy or Hindu Rashtra
  • Adani is Byword for Government's Climate Inaction as Australia Gears for Elections
  • How The Modi Government is Killing Off MGNREGS
  • The Year of the Gazan
  • Assembly Polls: Ten Crucial Takeaways Ahead of 2019
  • The Real Effects of Fake Propaganda on Migrants
  • Why NGOs in Pakistan Are at The Brink of Extinction
  • Dogged by Brexit
  • In My Own Voice: Citizenship Amendment Bill And You
  • Oil Giant Shell Finally Faces Its Day In Court For Complicity In Rapes And Murders in Nigeria
  • The Geopolitics of Pulwama
  • Shah Faesal Cuts Through Calls for Blood and Lays Out a Roadmap for Kashmir
  • Modi's ABC: Avoiding, Burying, Confusing
  • The Kashmir Question: A 'Made in India' Problem
  • Opposition Must Take a Stand Against the War Politics of Hindutva
  • 'Patriotism' Made Easy in Times of 'WhatsApp Elections'
  • Urban Poor Have Set Agenda for 2019 Elections
  • Will the US End Up Putting Sanctions on Every Country That Doesn't Bend to its Will?
  • Minority and Indigenous Women Human Rights Activists More Prone to Harassment UN Report
  • Tribute to Speaker Rabi Ray (1926-2017)
  • International Participation is Necessary Where State is Part of The Problem
  • Italy Takes Belt and Road to The Heart of Europe
  • The Legacy of Shaheed-e-Azam
  • In My Own Voice: Heroes or Hiroshima
  • The Modi Years
  • Election in Israel: A Race to the Bottom
  • Why Bangladesh Overtook Pakistan
  • Digital Monopoly Platforms, Modi Regime and Threat to Our Democracy
  • Elitism and Development
  • Jawaharlal Nehru and Organised Religion
  • A Brief History of the IUML and Kerla's Muslims
  • The Immunisation of Human Rights
  • How Can India Win The Struggle on Poverty?
  • The RSS's Chanakya Neeti
  • Diversity, Belonging and Multiculturalism
  • The Chinese Ambition
  • The Role City Govts Can Play in the Health of Citizens
  • Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew: Forgotten Warrior of Our Freedom Movement
  • Fighting Climate Change, Building Resilience
  • Mridula Sarabhai(the orignal anti-national)
  • Right to Education: A Dream Half Forgotten
  • Decoding One Nation One Poll
  • Tunisia Heads for Polls Amidst Economic Slowdown, Squsbbling and Crack Down on Islamic Extremist
  • Lynchings, Litchis and No Water: What the International Media is Saying Abount India
  • Blood in the Nile
  • Will the BNP Ever Again be a Major Political Force in Bangladesh?
  • 'Real Estate Brokers' Cannot Dampen The Palestinian Spirit
  • The Indian Liberal's Conundrum
  • Hope For Democracy in Sudan
  • In Depth: Water Crisis Looming Across Tamil Nadu
  • Missing Secularism in New Education Policy
  • Religion, Nationalism And Insurgency in Balochistan
  • Dim Lights, Closed Blinds: History Lessons From a Party in Power
  • Loan Waivers Need Better Designing to Prevent Farmer Suicides
  • Makimg Best Use of Sri Lanka's Strategic Location
  • FDI in Coal: Look Who's Coming to the Party
  • Weapons and the Never Ending Space Race
  • Thirty Years the Berlin Wall Brought Down
  • Reclaiming the Opposition and Political Space in India
  • An Interreligious Conference to Build Bridges in Sri Lanka
  • On 'Correcting' History and Akbar's Invasion of Kashmir
  • The Evolution of the 'Nobel Prize' in Economics
  • Close Coordination Between Turkey and Russia in Syria
  • Sri Lanka's Election Time Promises Costly to Keep
  • The India Economy and The Cobra Effect
  • Fascism: Is Liberal Use "Trivialising" This "Destructive Phenomenon?"
  • Treating the Poor as Development Guinea Pigs
  • A Not sp 'National Education Policy: Analysis Reveals Exclusion in Education Sector
  • University Fee Hikes Pave the Way for Selling Public Assets
  • The Truth About Middle Class 'Revolutions?
  • 50 Years of US Arms Trade: The Lasting Impact on West Asia
  • India Abjures Secularism in Bangladesh's View, Will Regional Cooperation Take a Hit?
  • Amidist Resistance to "De-Tribalisation", A Look at Why Jharkhand Polls are More Critical Than They Appear
  • The Dangerous Game of Citizenship: BJP Creates Divisive Agenda Through NRC
  • Revealed: US Losing Aghan War Due to "Fatally Flawed" War Strategies and Lack of Clear Objetives
  • 'Politics and Prejudice': Can Dalit-Bahujans and left Progressives Join Hands?
  • State Power's Attempts at Rewriting History
  • Afghanista's Tumultous Fourty-Year Journey
  • Nepal: Citizen's Needs Remain Sidelined as Turbulent Game of Politics Continues
  • "Enough is Enough": Secular India Revolts Against a " Majoritarian State"
  • Looking at Cuba's Revolution 61 Years On
  • Soleimani Murder Set to Spiral Out of Control, US Expected to Pressure India Under LEMOA
  • The Rise of Digital Media and The Viral Phenomenon of "Nowledge"
  • Thus Spake JP: Beware the Writing on the Wall
  • Sri Lankan Government Must Pay Attention to Problem-Solving in the North
  • Drowning Nation Clutches at Military Might?
  • India's Neighbourhood First Policy Crumbles
  • A Gobal Assault by the Far-Right
  • Delhi Riots: Historical Patterns, Complicity of Forces Point to Planned Violence
  • Behind The Protests Defending Public Education
  • Putting The Judiciary on Trial
  • "Sanctions Are a Crime": During Coronavirus Pandemic, Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela Causing Medical Shortages
  • Social Messiahs or Smart Entrepreneurs?
  • Justice Gogoi Joining Rajya Sabha Points to a Constitutional Crisis
  • A Russian "Plays Long Game" Firewall for Venezuela Against US Sanctions
  • RSS and the Question of Morality
  • Establishing COVID-19 Hospitals in Record Time
  • A New "Medical Internationalism" Needed: Cuba At the Pandemic Frontlines Even As Wealthy States Neglect Healthcare
  • Why They Suffer: The Human/Animal Conflict
  • More Books and Snowy Mornings
  • Statesmanship Required to Avert Constitutinal Crisis in Sri Lanka
  • Combating 'Hate Virus': Communal Forces Divide in times of Global Pandemin
  • How Biometric Authentication Has Excluded MAny From The Public Distribution System
  • Lessons From Iraq: Before Trump Sues China, US Must pay for Unjust War on Iraq
  • The American War System And The Global 'War of Error'
  • Demilitarising Patriotism in The Covid Fight
  • Muslims Need a Fair Media
  • Sri-Lanka: Shock of Covid-19 Wanes, Nationalist Sentiments Rise as Elections Approach
  • Covid-19 in Brazil: A 21st Century 'Reenactment' of the 19th Century Yellow Fever?
  • Iran's Fuel Tankers for Venezuela Sail to Safety Under 'Chinese Shield'
  • US Protests Bear Lessons For Sri Lanka
  • India and Nepal in For A Prolonged Standoff?
  • The Fifth Schedule: Tribal Advisory Councils and International Perspectives
  • The Asian American Response to Pandemic-Era Racism Must Be Cross-Racial Solidarity
  • Is Police Brutality Exclusive to the USA?
  • Libya's Future Seema to Rest on Arrangements Between Russia And Turkey
  • China's strategic Mind And Method: "Long-Term Planning" Behind Country's Geo-Political Moves
  • Returning Migrants: A Boon For Rural Industrialisation?
  • Why Refugees in Greece Are Afraid of the Word 'Camp'''
  • Black Lives Matter Movement And Its Lessons For India
  • US Provocations Trigger Tension in Sino-American Relations
  • Inclusive Representation Required In Sri Lanka's Decision-Making Bodies
  • Humanists At Risk: Demonising Dissent, Infantilising Society
  • Putin Anticipates 'Cascading Tension', Hints At Need To Rest World Order
  • Why the Neoliberal Agenda Is a Failure at Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
  • Covid-19 Underscores Importance of Local Planning
  • BRI Drive Post-Covid-19 Global Economic Recovery', Claims China
  • Are We Mainstreaming or Simply Trivialising Biodiversity?
  • Is Iran's Influence in Iraq Waning?
  • Green Economic Recovery: A Firm Commitment Required
  • Ease Of Doing Business VS Human Development
  • Provincial Councils The Best Option For A Peaceful Sri Lanka?
  • Revisiting the GDP Paradox
  • Coverange of Ayodhya Sparked "Convenient Collective Amnesia"
  • Prashant Bhushan And The Case of Contempt: "An Example of How Not to Write A Judgment"
  • Strengthening the Capacity of Gram Sabhas
  • Far Right Authoritarian Leaders Have Intensified The Pandemic in Their Countries
  • Congress And The Hindutva Campaign: "The Middle Path is Fast-Disappearing"
  • Trump Faces Backlash at Attempts to Suppress Mail-In Voting
  • Meeting the Covid Challenge to Define Our Nationhood
  • Capitalism's Political Problem: In Constant Conflict With Democracy
  • Anti-CAA Movement: How The 'OutSider' Discourse Dismisses Dissent
  • Centre Shirks Responsibility, "Abandons States" For Political Gain
  • Healing the Health System
  • Emerging Challenges for the International Labour Organisation
  • After Ayodhya, Kashi-Mathura On Temple Politics Agenda?
  • Unlike Today's Farm Bills, Even Britishers' Champaran Agrarian Bill Underwent Legislative Scrutiny
  • Science in Industry and the Academy
  • The US Supreme Court Has Never Been Liberal
  • Coronavirus Pandemic and Recessions: Disastrous for 'White Collar' Jobs
  • What Does Justice Mean Today?
  • Bihar's Political Ennui Can Only be Overcome by the Left
  • Gender Budget: Kerala Leads the Way, The Centre Should Follow
  • The Fight for Right to Information
  • Will Swing Voters Make Bihar Elections a Closer Contest Than Anticipated?
  • AMY Coney Barrett Sworn in as us Supreme Court Judge: Major Victory For the Right Wing
  • Thailand Protests - Youth Demand Greater Democratic Freedom
  • Unemployment a Key Issue in Bihar Elections
  • Capitalists Hungry For Land in Developing Countries Are a Threat to Indigenous Communities
  • Signals From Bihar: BJP and Left 'Sure Winners', Congress 'Neither Here Nor There'
  • Trump Lost But May Continue to Wield His Weapons of Destructions
  • Healing Divisions Post Election is The Challenge
  • 8 'Fruitless' Talks Later: XI Refuses to Budge, Modi in 'No Mood to Ruffle Feathers'
  • A Biden Presidency Hails The Return of The 'Ancien Regime'
  • Locating Nehru's Place In History
  • Why The BJP Has Shifted Focus From 'Congress Mukt Bharat' To Regional Parties
  • As People's Distress Grows, BJP Government is Busy Else where
  • The West Asia Trump Leaves Behind
  • Ambedkar's Vision Stands In Agonising Contrast to the Babri Masjid Demolition
  • Diversity in Nation Building: Recognising the Role of The Minority
  • Farmers Turn the Spotlights on Big Business
  • America's Vaccine Paranoia
  • Afghanistan: Despite US-Taliban Agreements, Peace Remains Elusive
  • Kisan Protests Are More About Survival of the Peasantry
  • Kamalji - Goodbye My Friend!
  • Condolence Message for Mr Kamal Morarka
  • Global dynamics in 2021
  • Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan: Muslims for Composite Indian Nationalism
  • Rajapaksas Regime Under Multiple Pressures
  • Coup Attempt in Jordan Leaves a Trail
  • What Kind of Political Candidates Did Gandhi Hope Voters Would Support?
  • Are Indian Students Losing Out on Past History as Textbooks are Being Changed?
  • Hamas Emerges as the Charioteer of the Palestinian Resistance Against Israel