Should The Indian Government Borrow From Abroad? (Episode-9)

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We discussed five broad questions:

1) Should India borrow abroad, if yes, then why? (10 mins)

2) Domestic liquidity issues and crowding out effect (8 minutes)

3) Why are experts (Ex- RBI governors) against this move? (3 mins)

4) What are risks o going overboard with overseas borrowing? (4 mins)

5) Risks of borrowing abroad (15 mins)

Below is an excerpt of the podcast with time stamps of important sections!

1.Should India borrow abroad, if yes, then why? (2:00)

The government borrows roughly INR5 lakh crores net per year. In the next year, the estimate of revenue that we want to collect just taxes, Indians will collect about 16 lakh gross, the government will pay 6.5 lakh crores in debt interest payment. About 40% percent of all of money that you're paying as a tax, is going not to build infrastructure, not to feed the hungry, not to pay farmers for food. It's going towards interest payments on the debt they borrowed in the past. Why would this be a problem? because we borrow debt at extremely high rates part. And here's the important thing, India's own companies that borrow abroad (ONGC for an example) has a bond issued in euros and euro denominated debt...

2. Domestic liquidity issues and crowding out effect (10:40)

You know, this is interesting, because what some of the economists have put across is or you know, what Indian Government is borrowing 3.3% and 2.2% is by states and some 4% is something else. And therefore, India's gross financial savings, which is about 10% of GDP out of which about 8% of GDP is borrowed by the government, my answer to that is that's not true!

3. Why are experts (Ex- RBI governors) against this move? (18:00)

About 1% of GDP is about 2 lakh crores. I think it's too small. I think in any given year, you can say don't borrow more than 1% of GDP. That's fine. I don't think India will see appetite for more than 10 billion euros at this point, which is about 70-75,000 crores thousand crores. I don't think any more appetite exists right now because everybody wants to wait and watch. And I think this is a good start. If there is an appetite, of course, we can look at more, I think you know, go and give more and buy a bottle more, especially if they're going to give it to you at negative rates, just go and borrow as much as you can, up to say 10% of the total debt...

4. What are risks o going overboard with overseas borrowing? (21:00)

The problem is that, what if another government is in power, right?. What if the same government is in power? Your problem is this, you're creating debt, it could be a poison- poisoning the well phenomenon. And the idea is that poisoning the well is like, you know, when, when people used to attack another country, these two are another place which will which had a fort, the idea was to throw poisoned frogs, rags, with darts and arrows. Some of them could fall inside a well which would then get poisoned, then nobody would have any source of water and everybody would die. Poisoning the well is to say to the next person that comes here, he will not enjoy that place because the water will be poisoned, they won't be able to drink the water. If you poison a well, you too can't come back!

5. Risks of borrowing abroad (24:50)

I think the point is if we borrow $100 at 70 rupees, we get 7,000. We may get it at 0.45%, but three years later rupees or 100. And then we return the hundred dollars and we return 10,000 rupees.

12 episodes