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...Many economists believe that the sharp reversal in imports could be attributed to broken domestic supply chains, as a consequence of the demonetisation exercise that was conducted in November 2016. Experts also point to low industrial production numbers, which they claim suggest that rising imports are substituting domestic production rather than satisfying increased domestic demand. Is this causal inference correct? We believe that it is not, and we present compelling evidence in this article to support our view. Even before getting into what leads to an imports surge, it is instructive to analyse the nature of India’s import bill and the drivers of imports growth. For January-August 2017, the three sectors, namely, mineral products, stone and glass, and electrical/machinery (out of 15 according to the Harmonized Classification System), accounted for 64.83% of the import bill. ...Live Mint on Dec. 5, 2017, 1:28 a.m.
...According to an article published in Mint (goo.gl/4PHo6n) and a paper brought out by a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru (goo.gl/66QF6g), the answer is “not so much”. A curious case is being made that higher rankings do not really imply good economic outcomes such as higher foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows or higher gross domestic product (GDP) growth. I argue that this assessment is based on dodgy economic foundations. The ease of doing business rank is a stock concept: It represents the reforms that a country has undertaken on various issues like infrastructure, legal systems, etc., over a couple of decades or even more. Hence, this rank ought to be more intricately associated with corresponding macroeconomic stock variables like the level of per capita GDP. With this concept in mind, Figure 1 plots the average ease of doing business rank during 2010-15 against per capita GDP level in the left panel. ...Live Mint on April 25, 2017, 1:29 a.m.