When Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked, in January this year, the question, "India is a $2 trillion economy today. Can we not dream of an India with a $20 trillion economy?", he was echoing a powerful, nuanced and intensely compelling set of questions. Some among them-ranging from ease-of-doing business, innovation, digital economy, manufacturing, entrepreneurship to skilled workforce-are all too familiar.
The new government has started an ambitious financial inclusion plan that aims to bring every household under the banking net by 26th January 2015. Financial inclusion has been a buzzword for quite some time.
When the euphoria of financial inclusion is at its peak, growing defaults by big businesses have brought the focus back on the alarming situation of the Indian banks balance sheets. Declaration of liquor baron Vijay Mallya as a "wilful defaulter" by United Bank of India highlights the growing stress among the banks.
The fate of the two hundred-odd coal blocks allocated since 1993 hangs in the balance after the Supreme Court declared that these allocations were made arbitrarily and illegally. A further hearing on the issue is scheduled on 1st September, when the apex court is expected to decide whether to scrap the allocations altogether, or to impose some sort of penalty on those involved.
In December 1967, the then Finance Minister Morarji Desai introduced a new term for bankers, the "Priority Sector" and this term has come to stay in the Indian banking terminology since then.