Transformation: Three Decades of India’s Financial and Banking Sector Reforms (1991-2021)

Dasarathi Mishra

Publisher: Partridge Pages: 430 Price: (paperback) $18.99 ISBN: 9781482837520 Reviewed: July, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

As the subtitle indicates, Dasarathi Mishra’s book Transformation examines India’s banking and finance reforms, starting with the country’s liberalization policies in the 1990s and covering changes through 2021.

Ever since the establishment of the Bank of Hindustan in 1770, India has had a Western-style banking sector. However, the partition of India in 1947 adversely affected the economies of Punjab and West Bengal and India’s banking and finance industries. Nationalization in 1969 and again in 1980, along with piecewise policies, led to lackluster performance and an increase in Non-Performing Assets (NPAs).

The book explores various dimensions of the reforms that followed, including liberalization, deregulation, privatization, and the introduction of new financial instruments. The narrative starts with the policy decisions, institutional changes, and regulatory frameworks that were made, outlining their rationale and intended goals. It then looks at their effectiveness, thus offering a deep dive into the policy context that has influenced the sector’s evolution.

In evaluating a policy’s effectiveness, Mishra examines the econometric measures that were initially proposed or expected as outcomes of the reforms, comparing them to their actual results. However, it’s hard to know if limitations or gaps in data coverage existed, and readers would be fair to question the validity of the author’s conclusions.

While Transformation provides valuable insights into the achievements of the reforms, it highlights the positive outcomes, such as improved financial stability and increased financial inclusion, which have contributed to the growth of India’s banking sector. Delving deeper into the challenges and constraints of the reforms would have provided a more realistic picture.

Additionally, the narrative lacks a coherent structure, jumping between topics without smooth connections and creating a disjointed reading experience.

Such issues limit the book’s effectiveness. Still, it offers solid information for patient readers interested in understanding the evolution and impact of India’s financial and banking sector reforms.

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