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These essays on the current state and evolution of India’s banking industry, and its future trajectory, are topical and enlightening. The general as well as the expert reader will find much in them that is engaging and provocative. Most importantly, the author overlays decades of hands-on banking experience on a rigorous economics base.
Mr Madan Sabnavis does an admirable job walking the reader through the ins and outs of this very crucial piece of the economic puzzle—has Indian Banking come of age in these nearly three decades. Not surprisingly, the answer about the success of Indian banking sector reforms is filled with shades of grey. What is particularly noteworthy is Mr Sabnavis’ analytical and communicative ability to do so in a non-ideological fashion.
A long-awaited book covering all contemporary issues of banking. The book is not merely a narration of events; deep analysis and unfolding of new dimensions make it different from other texts. Mr Madan Sabnavis likes to call a spade a spade and his views and inferences in this book once again demonstrate that trait. A scholarly writing presented in a lucid manner—a must read for all who are interested in banking.
I have known Madan for over two and a half decades. I have always respected him for fearlessly speaking out his point of view, particularly with reference to banking and allied sectors. I have always paid attention to his views even if I might have disagreed with him. What always impressed me has been the clarity of his thoughts and that he has been well-grounded. I have no doubt that, as in the past, his candid speaking would be reflected in these essays.
This book is a much-needed study of an extremely complex subject. Drawing on his nearly 35 years of experience in financial and applied economic fields, Madan has written the most comprehensive book on the evolution of the Indian banking sector post-financial sector reforms. The coverage of topics and the analytical treatment strongly reflect his theoretical intelligence and deep practical insights.
This book will surely promote informed debates on the economic outcomes of reforms in the financial sector and the essential road ahead. There are no more lucid accounts than this book on this vital cog for successful reforms. There are a few to match Sabnavis in clarity when it comes to analysing economic topics that concern us day to day. In this work, he has captured the essence of financial sector evolution since reforms, dissecting major initiatives. The potential as well as the pitfalls have been brought out very crisply.
Madan uses his training as an economist and his experience of being a participant in India’s financial system to discuss key trends in a sector which is key to our economy and the centre of attention at the moment. He touches on a number of topics where there are differing views and provokes the reader to think about these topics both deeply and differently.
This book provides numerous unbiased insights into bringing the moribund Indian banking system into a new mode. While dwelling in basic economic theory, Madan has always brought in a fresh practical perspective being a good lateral thinker that is easily understood by most readers and not just specialists. Honest in his analysis, Madan does not shy away from expressing his views which perhaps is the best way to begin any discussion. I would strongly recommend this book for its 360-degree review of the Indian banking system.
For some, history is a nightmare from which they try to awaken. However, Madan Sabnavis’ book wakes us up gently, without allowing history to become a nightmare. He explains economic policies with gentleness and understanding that is rare among economists. Yet he pushes for governance, accountability and the need to protect customers and depositors. His ability to explain the ‘why’ and firmly, yet almost softly, suggest what should be done is what makes the book special.
Sabnavis combines the skills of an economist with the speed of a journalist, and that’s what makes this book so important. It examines all the questions people have about banks: Do bank mergers make sense? Are we serious about the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code? What is wrong with the government telling its banks what to do if a private sector owner can call the shots in a bank? and so on. A ‘two-handed’ approach is a bit disappointing, but that’s because there are no unalloyed truths. The lay reader will certainly benefit from the book; the specialist may also learn a trick or two.
The book chronicles the evolution of Indian banking since economic liberalization and attempts to figure out whether things have changed—they haven’t. This is primarily because India has not been able to separate politics from economics. Economist Madan Sabnavis doesn’t impose his view on the readers but kicks off a much-needed debate.
Over the last few years, Indian banking, and especially the public sector part, has been lurching from one crisis to another. Madan Sabnavis’ book on the sector’s Hits and Misses is thus not only timely, but something policymakers, regulators and bankers should grab with both hands if they want a dispassionate opinion on what has worked, and what has not. Frank, independent and unbiased, Sabnavis tells it like it is.
This is a refreshingly different book about the evolution of Indian banking since liberalization. It is different because it doesn’t shy away from discussing the politics of banking reforms, the clash of ideologies and the numerous controversies that have hobbled Indian banking. Madan Sabnavis brings years of experience with his usual clarity, insight, depth and objectivity to the debate.
This book is a must-read for those interested in knowing what worked and what did not work in the three decades since the country chose to trudge down the path of reforms. Sabnavis has both the benefit of being closely associated with the sector and at the same time a position where he can take a dispassionate view. Sabnavis has identified how ideology often continues to be a barrier for reform despite policymakers knowing the right answers. With the banking sector at yet another inflection point because of the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic, this is a timely publication.
Madan Sabnavis was among the first economic analysts in the mid-1990s to provide—through a commissioned newspaper column—a cogent, informed and layered critique of the banking sector reforms process. He remained immune to the reforms hysteria that was sweeping through the financial services sector and was able to pinpoint with great accuracy the structural, sequential or regulatory flaws in the entire process. This book adds a political economy angle to that critical gaze, making his evaluation of banking sector reforms more comprehensive, and definitely more readable.
It is no secret that India is grappling with its worst banking crisis ever, though we are still discovering how and why we landed here and, most importantly, whether we can prevent it from happening again. Madan Sabnavis brings in his vast experience to bear on this important question and also answers the more fundamental one: Is my money safe?
“Mr. Sabnavis uses all his 30-plus years’ experience to identify crucial issues facing Indian banking. It is timely because the post-COVID world could see another NPA surge…For a student or baning professional, this is an important book.”
“This is a well thought out, neutral book by someone who is both knowledgeable and impartial…No important aspect has been left out. It should be compulsory reading for students of economics and business.”