A Hundred Small Steps: Report of the Committee on Financial Sector Reforms
SAGE Publications, Jan 6, 2009 - Business & Economics - 192 pages
While previous reports have focused solely on the big issues like capital account convertibility, bank privatization, and priority sector norms, A Hundred Small Steps: Report of the Committee on Financial Sector Reforms goes deep into other areas where reforms are less controversial, but perhaps as important. The report argues that we need a change in mindset for the financial sector, one that recognizes that efficiency, innovation, and value for money are as important for the poor as they are for our new Indian multinationals, and these will come from improved governance, new entry and competition. Indeed the Committee believes that the road to making Mumbai an international financial centre runs through every village in India.
The report is divided into separate self-contained chapters; the underlying theme behind all the proposals is the need to enhance inclusion, growth, and stability by allowing players more freedom, even while strengthening the financial and regulatory infrastructure. The role of the government is to create an enabling environment by building sound financial infrastructure. The Committee has focused primarily on broad principles and directions, without entering too much into details of implementation. It emphasizes three important reasons for financial sector reform: to include more Indians in the growth process; to foster growth itself; and to improve financial stability, flexibility, and resilience and thus protect the economy against the kind of turbulence that is affecting the world today.
The Committee recognizes this is a difficult time to propose financial sector reforms in India. The near meltdown of the US financial sector seems to be proof that markets and competition do not work. This is clearly the wrong lesson to take from the debacle. The right lesson is that markets and institutions do succumb occasionally to excesses, which is why regulators have to be vigilant. The report argues for skilled regulators who encourage growth and innovation even while working harder to contain risks.
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