This is an updated copy of the version on BadHistory. I plan to update it in accordance with the feedback I got. I'd like to thank two people who will remain anonymous for helping me greatly with this post (you know who you are) submitted by
Three years ago a festschrift
for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri was published by Shubhra Chakrabarti, a history teacher at the University of Delhi and Utsa Patnaik, a Marxist economist who taught at JNU until 2010.
One of the essays in the festschirt by Utsa Patnaik was an attempt to quantify the "drain" undergone by India during British Rule. Her conclusion? Britain robbed India of $45 trillion (or £9.2 trillion) during their 200 or so years of rule. This figure was immensely popular, and got republished in several major news outlets (here
(they get the number wrong) and more recently here
), got a mention from the Minister of External Affairs
& returns 29,100 results on Google
. There's also plenty of references
to it here on Reddit.
Patnaik is not the first to calculate such a figure. Angus Maddison thought it was £100 million, Simon Digby said £1 billion, Javier Estaban said £40 million see Roy (2019)
. The huge range of figures should set off some alarm bells.
So how did Patnaik calculate this (shockingly large) figure? Well, even though I don't have access to the festschrift, she conveniently has written an article detailing her methodology here
. Let's have a look.
How exactly did the British manage to diddle us and drain our wealth’ ? was the question that Basudev Chatterjee (later editor of a volume in the Towards Freedom project) had posed to me 50 years ago when we were fellow-students abroad.
This is begging the question.
After decades of research I find that using India’s commodity export surplus as the measure and applying an interest rate of 5%, the total drain from 1765 to 1938, compounded up to 2016, comes to £9.2 trillion; since $4.86 exchanged for £1 those days, this sum equals about $45 trillion.
This is completely meaningless. To understand why it's meaningless consider India's annual coconut exports. These are almost certainly a surplus but the surplus in trade is countered by the other country buying the product
(indeed, by definition
, trade surpluses contribute to the GDP of a nation which hardly plays into intuitive conceptualisations of drain).
Furthermore, Dewey (2019)
critiques the 5% interest rate.
She [Patnaik] consistently adopts statistical assumptions (such as compound interest at a rate of 5% per annum over centuries) that exaggerate the magnitude of the drain
The exact mechanism of drain, or transfers from India to Britain was quite simple.
Drain theory possessed the political merit of being easily grasped by a nation of peasants. [...] No other idea could arouse people than the thought that they were being taxed so that others in far off lands might live in comfort. [...] It was, therefore, inevitable that the drain theory became the main staple of nationalist political agitation during the Gandhian era.
- Chandra et al. (1989)
The key factor was Britain’s control over our taxation revenues combined with control over India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its booming commodity export surplus with the world. Simply put, Britain used locally raised rupee tax revenues to pay for its net import of goods, a highly abnormal use of budgetary funds not seen in any sovereign country.
The issue with figures like these is they all make certain methodological assumptions that are impossible to prove. From Roy in Frankema et al. (2019)
the "drain theory" of Indian poverty cannot be tested with evidence, for several reasons. First, it rests on the counterfactual that any money saved on account of factor payments abroad would translate into domestic investment, which can never be proved. Second, it rests on "the primitive notion that all payments to foreigners are "drain"", that is, on the assumption that these payments did not contribute to domestic national income to the equivalent extent (Kumar 1985, 384; see also Chaudhuri 1968). Again, this cannot be tested. [...] Fourth, while British officers serving India did receive salaries that were many times that of the average income in India, a paper using cross-country data shows that colonies with better paid officers were governed better (Jones 2013).
Indeed, drain theory rests on some very weak foundations. This, in of itself, should be enough to dismiss any of the other figures that get thrown out. Nonetheless, I felt it would be a useful exercise to continue exploring Patnaik's take on drain theory.
The East India Company from 1765 onwards allocated every year up to one-third of Indian budgetary revenues net of collection costs, to buy a large volume of goods for direct import into Britain, far in excess of that country’s own needs.
So what's going on here? Well Roy (2019)
explains it better:
Colonial India ran an export surplus, which, together with foreign investment, was used to pay for services purchased from Britain. These payments included interest on public debt, salaries, and pensions paid to government offcers who had come from Britain, salaries of managers and engineers, guaranteed profts paid to railway companies, and repatriated business profts. How do we know that any of these payments involved paying too much? The answer is we do not.
So what was really happening is the government was paying its workers for services (as well as guaranteeing profits - to promote investment - something the GoI does today Dalal (2019)
, and promoting business in India), and those workers were remitting some of that money to Britain. This is hardly a drain (unless, of course, Indian diaspora around the world today are "draining" it). In some cases, the remittances would take the form of goods (as described) see Chaudhuri (1983)
It is obvious that these debit items were financed through the export surplus on merchandise account, and later, when railway construction started on a large scale in India, through capital import. Until 1833 the East India Company followed a cumbersome method in remitting the annual home charges. This was to purchase export commodities in India out of revenue, which were then shipped to London and the proceeds from their sale handed over to the home treasury.
While Roy's earlier point argues better paid officers governed better, it is honestly impossible to say what part of the repatriated export surplus was a drain, and what was not. However calling all of it a drain is definitely misguided.
It's worth noting that Patnaik seems to make no attempt to quantify the benefits of the Raj either, Dewey (2019)
's 2nd criticism:
she [Patnaik] consistently ignores research that would tend to cut the economic impact of the drain down to size, such as the work on the sources of investment during the industrial revolution (which shows that industrialisation was financed by the ploughed-back profits of industrialists) or the costs of empire school (which stresses the high price of imperial defence)
Since tropical goods were highly prized in other cold temperate countries which could never produce them, in effect these free goods represented international purchasing power for Britain which kept a part for its own use and re-exported the balance to other countries in Europe and North America against import of food grains, iron and other goods in which it was deficient.
Re-exports necessarily adds value to goods when the goods are processed and when the goods are transported. The country with the largest navy at the time would presumably be in very good stead to do the latter.
The British historians Phyllis Deane and WA Cole presented an incorrect estimate of Britain’s 18th-19th century trade volume, by leaving out re-exports completely. I found that by 1800 Britain’s total trade was 62% higher than their estimate, on applying the correct definition of trade including re-exports, that is used by the United Nations and by all other international organisations.
While interesting, and certainly expected for such an old book, re-exporting necessarily adds value to goods.
When the Crown took over from the Company, from 1861 a clever system was developed under which all of India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its fast-rising commodity export surplus with the world, was intercepted and appropriated by Britain. As before up to a third of India’s rising budgetary revenues was not spent domestically but was set aside as ‘expenditure abroad’.
So, what does this mean? Britain appropriated all of India's earnings, and then spent a third of it aboard? Not exactly. She is describing home charges see Roy (2019)
Some of the expenditures on defense and administration were made in sterling and went out of the country. This payment by the government was known as the Home Charges. For example, interest payment on loans raised to finance construction of railways and irrigation works, pensions paid to retired officers, and purchase of stores, were payments in sterling. [...] almost all money that the government paid abroad corresponded to the purchase of a service from abroad. [...] The balance of payments system that emerged after 1800 was based on standard business principles. India bought something and paid for it. State revenues were used to pay for wages of people hired abroad, pay for interest on loans raised abroad, and repatriation of profits on foreign investments coming into India. These were legitimate market transactions.
Indeed, if paying for what you buy is drain, then several billions of us are drained every day.
The Secretary of State for India in Council, based in London, invited foreign importers to deposit with him the payment (in gold, sterling and their own currencies) for their net imports from India, and these gold and forex payments disappeared into the yawning maw of the SoS’s account in the Bank of England.
It should be noted that India having two heads was beneficial, and encouraged investment per Roy (2019)
The fact that the India Office in London managed a part of the monetary system made India creditworthy, stabilized its currency, and encouraged foreign savers to put money into railways and private enterprise in India. Current research on the history of public debt shows that stable and large colonies found it easier to borrow abroad than independent economies because the investors trusted the guarantee of the colonist powers.
Against India’s net foreign earnings he issued bills, termed Council bills (CBs), to an equivalent rupee value. The rate (between gold-linked sterling and silver rupee) at which the bills were issued, was carefully adjusted to the last farthing, so that foreigners would never find it more profitable to ship financial gold as payment directly to Indians, compared to using the CB route. Foreign importers then sent the CBs by post or by telegraph to the export houses in India, that via the exchange banks were paid out of the budgeted provision of sums under ‘expenditure abroad’, and the exporters in turn paid the producers (peasants and artisans) from whom they sourced the goods. Sunderland (2013)
argues CBs had two main roles (and neither were part of a grand plot to keep gold out of India):
Council bills had two roles. They firstly promoted trade by handing the IO some control of the rate of exchange and allowing the exchange banks to remit funds to India and to hedge currency transaction risks. They also enabled the Indian government to transfer cash to England for the payment of its UK commitments.
The United Nations (1962) historical data for 1900 to 1960, show that for three decades up to 1928 (and very likely earlier too) India posted the second highest merchandise export surplus in the world, with USA in the first position. Not only were Indians deprived of every bit of the enormous international purchasing power they had earned over 175 years, even its rupee equivalent was not issued to them since not even the colonial government was credited with any part of India’s net gold and forex earnings against which it could issue rupees. The sleight-of-hand employed, namely ‘paying’ producers out of their own taxes, made India’s export surplus unrequited and constituted a tax-financed drain to the metropolis, as had been correctly pointed out by those highly insightful classical writers, Dadabhai Naoroji and RCDutt.
It doesn't appear that others appreciate their insight Roy (2019)
K. N. Chaudhuri rightly calls such practice ‘confused’ economics ‘coloured by political feelings’.
Surplus budgets to effect such heavy tax-financed transfers had a severe employment–reducing and income-deflating effect: mass consumption was squeezed in order to release export goods. Per capita annual foodgrains absorption in British India declined from 210 kg. during the period 1904-09, to 157 kg. during 1937-41, and to only 137 kg by 1946. Dewey (1978)
points out reliability issues with Indian agriculutural statistics, however this calorie decline persists to this day. Some of it is attributed to less food being consumed at home Smith (2015)
, a lower infectious disease burden Duh & Spears (2016)
and diversified diets Vankatesh et al. (2016)
If even a part of its enormous foreign earnings had been credited to it and not entirely siphoned off, India could have imported modern technology to build up an industrial structure as Japan was doing.
This is, unfortunately, impossible to prove. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication that India would've united (this is arguably more plausible than the given counterfactual1
). Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been nuked in WW2, much like Japan. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been invaded by lizard people,
much like Japan.
The list continues eternally.
Nevertheless, I will charitably examine the given counterfactual anyway. Did pre-colonial India have industrial potential? The answer is a resounding no.
From Gupta (1980)
This article starts from the premise that while economic categories - the extent of commodity production, wage labour, monetarisation of the economy, etc - should be the basis for any analysis of the production relations of pre-British India, it is the nature of class struggles arising out of particular class alignments that finally gives the decisive twist to social change. Arguing on this premise, and analysing the available evidence, this article concludes that there was little potential for industrial revolution before the British arrived in India because, whatever might have been the character of economic categories of that period, the class relations had not sufficiently matured to develop productive forces and the required class struggle for a 'revolution' to take place.
A view echoed in Raychaudhuri (1983)
Yet all of this did not amount to an economic situation comparable to that of western Europe on the eve of the industrial revolution. Her technology - in agriculture as well as manufacturers - had by and large been stagnant for centuries. [...] The weakness of the Indian economy in the mid-eighteenth century, as compared to pre-industrial Europe was not simply a matter of technology and commercial and industrial organization. No scientific or geographical revolution formed part of the eighteenth-century Indian's historical experience. [...] Spontaneous movement towards industrialisation is unlikely in such a situation.
So now we've established India did not have industrial potential, was India similar to Japan just before the Meiji era? The answer, yet again, unsurprisingly, is no. Japan's economic situation was not comparable to India's, which allowed for Japan to finance its revolution. From Yasuba (1986)
All in all, the Japanese standard of living may not have been much below the English standard of living before industrialization, and both of them may have been considerably higher than the Indian standard of living. We can no longer say that Japan started from a pathetically low economic level and achieved a rapid or even "miraculous" economic growth. Japan's per capita income was almost as high as in Western Europe before industrialization, and it was possible for Japan to produce surplus in the Meiji Period to finance private and public capital formation.
The circumstances that led to Meiji Japan were extremely unique. See Tomlinson (1985)
Most modern comparisons between India and Japan, written by either Indianists or Japanese specialists, stress instead that industrial growth in Meiji Japan was the product of unique features that were not reproducible elsewhere. [...] it is undoubtably true that Japan's progress to industrialization has been unique and unrepeatable
So there you have it. Unsubstantiated statistical assumptions, calling any number you can a drain & assuming a counterfactual for no good reason gets you this $45 trillion number. Hopefully that's enough to bury it in the ground. 1. Several authors have affirmed that Indian identity is a colonial artefact. For example see Rajan 1969:
Perhaps the single greatest and most enduring impact of British rule over India is that it created an Indian nation, in the modern political sense. After centuries of rule by different dynasties overparts of the Indian sub-continent, and after about 100 years of British rule, Indians ceased to be merely Bengalis, Maharashtrians,or Tamils, linguistically and culturally. or see Bryant 2000:
But then, it would be anachronistic to condemn eighteenth-century Indians, who served the British, as collaborators, when the notion of 'democratic' nationalism or of an Indian 'nation' did not then exist. [...] Indians who fought for them, differed from the Europeans in having a primary attachment to a non-belligerent religion, family and local chief, which was stronger than any identity they might have with a more remote prince or 'nation'.
Chakrabarti, Shubra & Patnaik, Utsa (2018). Agrarian and other histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri
. Colombia University Press
Hickel, Jason (2018). How the British stole $45 trillion from India
. The Guardian
Bhuyan, Aroonim & Sharma, Krishan (2019). The Great Loot: How the British stole $45 trillion from India.
Monbiot, George (2020). English Landowners have stolen our rights. It is time to reclaim them.
Tsjeng, Zing (2020). How Britain Stole $45 trillion from India with trains | Empires of Dirt.
Chaudhury, Dipanjan (2019). British looted $45 trillion from India in today’s value: Jaishankar.
The Economic Times
Roy, Tirthankar (2019). How British rule changed India's economy: The Paradox of the Raj.
Patnaik, Utsa (2018). How the British impoverished India.
Tuovila, Alicia (2019). Expenditure method.
Dewey, Clive (2019). Changing the guard: The dissolution of the nationalist–Marxist orthodoxy in the agrarian and agricultural history of India.
The Indian Economic & Social History Review
Chandra, Bipan et al. (1989). India's Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947.
Frankema, Ewout & Booth, Anne (2019). Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, c. 1850-1960.
Cambridge University Press
Dalal, Sucheta (2019). IL&FS Controversy: Centre is Paying Up on Sovereign Guarantees to ADB, KfW for Group's Loan.
Chaudhuri, K.N. (1983). X - Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments (1757–1947).
Cambridge University Press
Sunderland, David (2013). Financing the Raj: The City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940.
Dewey, Clive (1978). Patwari and Chaukidar: Subordinate officials and the reliability of India’s agricultural statistics.
Smith, Lisa (2015). The great Indian calorie debate: Explaining rising undernourishment during India’s rapid economic growth.
Duh, Josephine & Spears, Dean (2016). Health and Hunger: Disease, Energy Needs, and the Indian Calorie Consumption Puzzle.
The Economic Journal
Vankatesh, P. et al. (2016). Relationship between Food Production and Consumption Diversity in India – Empirical Evidences from Cross Section Analysis.
Agricultural Economics Research Review
Gupta, Shaibal (1980). Potential of Industrial Revolution in Pre-British India.
Economic and Political Weekly
Raychaudhuri, Tapan (1983). I - The mid-eighteenth-century background.
Cambridge University Press
Yasuba, Yasukichi (1986). Standard of Living in Japan Before Industrialization: From what Level did Japan Begin? A Comment.
The Journal of Economic History
Tomblinson, B.R. (1985). Writing History Sideways: Lessons for Indian Economic Historians from Meiji Japan
. Cambridge University Press
Rajan, M.S. (1969). The Impact of British Rule in India.
Journal of Contemporary History
Bryant, G.J. (2000). Indigenous Mercenaries in the Service of European Imperialists: The Case of the Sepoys in the Early British Indian Army, 1750-1800.
War in History
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‘Development of GIS-Based Forest Management Information System in Punjab’ was approved at PC-1 with a cost of Rs75 million and a gestation period of 36 months (2016-2019) has allowed for transfer of all forest resources and inventories into IT-based inventory systems and achieved extensive field surveys, rapid data collection and its processing for development of the forestry sector on efficient lines.
-Hutchison Port Holdings announces $240m investment in Pakistan
Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed $240 million foreign investment from Hutchison Port Holdings, a Hong Kong-based port operator. A delegation of Hutchison Port Holdings, led by its Group Managing Director Eric Ip, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday. Other delegation members included HPH Middle East & Africa Managing Director Andy Tsoi and Middle East & Africa Business Director Eric Ng.
Maritime Affairs Minister Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Ambassador-at-Large for Foreign Investment Ali Jehangir Siddiqui and Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Haider Gilani were also present on the occasion. Group Managing Director Eric Ip apprised the prime minister of Hutchison’s fresh investment into Pakistan approximating $240 million which will enhance the new container terminal capacity at the Karachi Port, and increase Hutchison Ports’ total investment in Pakistan to $1 billion.
-Punjab's tax collection jumps 44%
Punjab’s tax collection registered a 44% growth to Rs77 billion in first quarter of the ongoing fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of previous year, despite tough conditions of the federal government for the provinces to get a share in the federal divisible pool of resources. Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht disclosed this at a review meeting of the Finance Department on Monday.
The meeting was briefed that despite the financial backlog left by the previous government, the current government gave a surplus budget of Rs233 billion in order to meet financial requirements of the federal government to comply with conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme.
-‘SECP recognised as 7th most effective regulator in world’
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has been recognised as the “7th most effective regulator” by the World Economic Forum in its ‘Global Competitiveness Report-2019’.
“Pakistan was ranked as the 52nd most dynamic economy in the world. The country secured this by improving 15 points from last year, as it stood at 67th in 2018,” said a statement issued by Mishal Pakistan, Country Partner at WEF’s Institute of the Future of Economic Progress System Initiative, on Wednesday. “The progress of Pakistan’s competitiveness was due to the achievements made during the last 12 months.”
The most effective improvements were made due to the initiative and strategies adopted by the apex regulator for the corporate sector and the capital markets; supervision and regulation of insurance, non-banking financial companies and private pension schemes. The SECP improved Pakistan’s competitiveness rankings by improving the “number of days to start a business”, where Pakistan was ranked at the 90th position compared with 96th in 2018.
-Pakistan China bilateral trade crosses $19 billion, highest ever in history
Pakistan Ambassador to China , Naghmana Hashmi has said the bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and China has now touched US $ 19.08 billion and both countries aimed to raise it further.
“The bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and China has now touched US$ 19.08. We aim to raise it further,” Ambassador Hashmi said joint ventures in defence production have led to the manufacture of the MBT 2000 Al-Khalid Tank and JF-17 Thunder, a fighter aircraft. “On the diplomatic front, the two countries are committed to protecting and promoting multilateralism and upholding the United Nations (UN)Charter, while our cooperation has extended to science and technology, socioeconomic sectors and nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes,” she added.
-Foreign Company Agrees to Drop $6 Billion Penalty, Re-Invest in Reko Diq: Reports
The International Center of Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) had slapped the country with a $6 billion penalty for revoking the contract without prior knowledge back in 2009. Soon after the development, the Prime Minister had empowered his financial team to contact the executives of the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) to reach an out-of-court settlement and avoid the penalty.
Reportedly, after the Pakistan authority’s approach, the company has not only agreed to take back the penalty but has also agreed to invest in the project again. As per media reports, PM Imran Khan contacted the TCC management and discussed the prospects of the matter. He assured the company his full support if they wanted to revise the investment plan for the project. The company will reportedly withdraw its appeal from the ICSID, while Pakistan will compensate for their damages due to the cancelation of the contract.
-Current account deficit shrinks massive 64pc
The country’s current account deficit (cad) in the first quarter of current fiscal year declined by a huge 64 per cent mainly on the back of a 21pc reduction in the imports bill.
The State Bank’s latest data issued on Friday showed the current account deficit for July-September FY20 clocked in at $1.548 billion compared to $4.287bn in the same period last fiscal year; a decline of $2.739bn.
The reduced current account deficit is a positive omen for the government, which is struggling with slow economic growth and high inflation. However, despite massive decline in rupee’s value, the country’s exports have failed to register any noticeable increase during the period.
-Food imports down 24pc, exports up 14pc in Q1 FY20
Food group imports into the country during the first quarter of the current financial year (July-Sept 2019-20) decreased considerably by 24.7pc, whereas exports increased by 13.98pc compared with the corresponding period of last year.
The import of food commodities into the country during the period under review came down from $1.45 billion to $1 billion, whereas the exports increased from $864 million to $984.7 million, according to latest data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
-Chinese Smartphone Company Realme to build mobile phone manufacturing factory in Pakistan
Chinese company Realme's Director of Marketing in Pakistan Mr He Shunzi in an interview disclosed that Realme is planning to set up the mobile phone manufacturing factory in Pakistan. He told that company is inspecting locations in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Faisalabad Industrial Estate for suitable land. Pakistani mobile market offers guaranteed capital as Realme ranked top five android brands in Pakistan in less than nine months, capturing 8% of total market share, he added.
-Chinese Coal Giant Wants to Convert Thar’s Coal to Diesel
China’s Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group will help convert Thar’s coal into oil and the talks between the two parties are underway. The Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group is a subsidiary of China’s biggest coal producer, the Shenhua Group and the company already has the world’s largest plant for converting coal into diesel, with an annual production capacity of 4 million tons in Ningxia in its portfolio.
The agreement, if signed, will be a ‘game-changer’ for Pakistan, believes Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, who accompanied Imran Khan on his recent visit to China. The Pakistani delegation held talks with the Shenhua Group during the trip:
-In a positive development, Pakistan projected among top 20 rising economic growth engines of the World
Pakistan projected among 20 top rising economic growth engines of the World that would dominate the global growth in next 5 years. Pakistan has been projected as one of 20 countries that will dominate global growth in five years time in 2024, an assessment made by Bloomberg using data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
-In a positive development, Pakistan textile exports register increase
Textile exports from the country increased by 2.95pc during the first quarter of the current fiscal year (July-Sept FY20) compared with the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. The textile exports during the period under review were recorded at $3,371.974 million as against the exports of $3,275.303 million during July-September 2018-19, according to latest data by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
The textile commodities that contributed to the positive growth included raw cotton, exports of which grew by 53.65pc, from $7.047 million to $10.828 million. Similarly, the exports of yarn (other than cotton yarn) increased by 21.95pc, from $7.759 million last year to $9.462 million, while that of knitwear surged by 11.14pc, from $701.393 million to $779.548 million.
-Kartarpur Corridor will open to public on November 9: PM Imran
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced that Pakistan will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9. The premier’s announcement came via a Facebook post in which he said that construction work on the Pakistani side had entered the final stage. “Pakistan is all set to open its doors for Sikhs from all across the globe,” he wrote. “World’s largest Gurdwara will be visited by Sikhs from across India and other parts of the world,” he said.
-'$1.2b penalty in Karkey case likely to be waived'
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and senior lawyer Babar Awan has said that the $1.2 billion penalty that Pakistan has to pay to Turkey’s Karkey rental power plant is likely to be waived.
“International institutions, through high-level backdoor contacts, have agreed to waive off the penalty. This is very good news for Pakistan,” said Awan while addressing the media on Friday. “International institutions have shown their trust in Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he added.
-Punjab Govt to Introduce a Unified Tax Collection System
Punjab government is contemplating the introduction of a unified tax collection system in the province. The unified system will streamline the tax collection process and facilitate the taxpayers. At the moment, Punjab Revenue Department, Excise and Taxation Department, and local administrations collect taxes in Punjab. On Sunday, Finance Minister of Punjab, Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, headed a meeting of Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA). Bakht said that a special tax management unit will be set up at the Punjab finance department that will unify tax collection all across the country.
-PM To Launch Clean Green Pakistan Index for Multiple Cities
Prime Minister’s Adviser on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, said that Imran Khan will launch the Clean Green Pakistan Index (CGPI) at a grand launching ceremony on October 30. The initiative is aimed at introducing competition among cities on various indicators, including public access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation, effective solid waste management, and tree plantation.
The prime minister will announce a six-month competition among 19 cities of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces, he added. The adviser said that after six months, these cities will be ranked again and those with prominent progress will be rewarded with special federal and provincial government funds and more cities will be joining the competition.
-PM Khan Will Lay The Foundation of Baba Guru Nanak University on Oct. 28
Prime Minister Imran Khan is going to lay the foundation stone of Baba Guru Nanak University on October 28. The establishment of this university in Nankana Sahib was announced earlier this year when PM Khan was in the town for a Spring Tree Plantation Campaign.
-Sindh govt invites bids for Dhabeji SEZ
The Sindh government has launched the well-connected Dhabeji Special Economic Zone in district Thatta near Port Qasim, according to a statement issued on Monday. In this connection, the Sindh Economic Zones Management Company (SEZMC), being the provincial SEZ custodian, has invited proposals for the development and operation of Dhabeji project through an advertisement published in leading national and international newspapers.
Dhabeji SEZ was highlighted in the recent meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Joint Working Group on Industrial Cooperation. The senior officials of China’s National Development Reforms Commission (NDRC) appreciated the Sindh government on the progress made so far. The Sindh government launched the project through an international competitive bidding process as a build-up to the upcoming 10th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting between China and Pakistan, which would be held next month.
-Rice exports surge 51pc in first quarter FY20
Rice exports from the country during the first quarter of the financial year 2019-20 grew by 50.76pc as compared to the corresponding period last year. During the July-September period, about 839,356 metric tonnes of rice, worth $470.584 million, were exported as compared the exports of 551.5,86 metric tonnes, valuing $312.147 million, during the same period of FY19.
According to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the exports of basmati rice increased by 47.29pc, as 212,873 metric tonnes of basmati rice ($194.669 million) were exported during the first quarter of FY20, as compared the 127,669 metric tonnes ($132.166 million) in the same period of last year. Meanwhile, 34,090 metric tonnes of fish and fish preparations worth $79.549 million were also exported in the period under review as compared to the exports of 25,859 metric tonnes valuing $67.294 million during the same period of last year.
-Pakistan to be out of FATF's grey list by September, promises Central Bank
Islamabad will strictly implement the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in order to get out of the money laundering grey list released by the Paris-based body, a senior official of Pakistan's Central Bank said on Wednesday. FATF had previously placed Pakistan on its watch list of countries that need to do more in relation to anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
"The FATF challenge has be to be addressed. Pakistan has mandated upon itself to enforce the FATF plan in letter and spirit. Whatever the requirements about the FATF plan are, they will be imposed and Pakistan will be out of grey list by September 2019. FATF is a risk but we are addressing it in the right letter and spirt," said Syed Irfan Ali, executive director for Banking Policy and Regulation Group at the State Bank of Pakistan.
-NAB finds 'proof of massive money laundering' against Sharif family
The Sharif family’s troubles seem set to worsen as reports suggest the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has found evidence of massive money laundering through which Shehbaz Sharif and his family members accumulated assets in the United Kingdom.
According to sources privy to NAB’s investigation, the illegally accumulated assets are worth Rs85 billion to Rs100 billion and were bought during Shehbaz’s tenure as Punjab chief minister.
They said the evidence found was irrefutable and showed striking similarities with the money laundering and fake accounts case against former president Asif Ali Zardari and other Pakistan Peoples Party leaders.
-US debunks Indian claims of shooting down PAF F-16
Indian claims of shooting down a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 on February 27 were debunked by US officials as all aircraft are accounted for. Pakistan invited US officials to physically count the F-16 planes after the incident. Some of the aircraft were not immediately available for inspection due to the conflict, so it took US personnel several weeks to account for all of the jets, one of the officials said.
The report stated that two US defence officials with direct knowledge of the matter said US personnel had done a count of Pakistan’s F-16s and found none missing.
-Finance minister rules out further rupee devaluation
Finance Minister Asad Umar on Friday ruled out the need for further devaluation of the Pakistani rupee as the currency stands at equilibrium. “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made no demand for rupee devaluation,” Umar clarified categorically while addressing at Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) through online video conference. “Today, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has clarified the rupee is standing at equilibrium,” he said. Dismissing reports of further devaluation, he added: “Stop circulating rumors that Asam Umar has said rupee would depreciate to 160 or 180.”
For the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in Lahore, Christian children have the right to study the Bible, Hindu children have the right to study the Bhagavat Gita and Buddhist children have the right to study the Vedas. Together with the People’s Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR), the CSJ held a conference on 29 March in which they adopted a resolution entitled ‘Right to education without discrimination’ demanding the right of minorities to teach their own religion in schools, as guaranteed by Article 22 of the Pakistani Constitution. Currently, only Islam is taught in schools.
-China’s BeiDou Navigation System Will be Able to Replace GPS in Pakistan Soon
Pakistani military reliance on the US-owned Global Positioning System (GPS) will be reduced after the use of China’s Beidou satellite navigation system which is projected to achieve global coverage by 2020. This was the crux of background discussions between former military officials and telecom experts.
Beidou is the world’s fourth space-based navigation system, following GPS by the United States, GLONASS by Russia and Galileo by the European Union. According to experts, the satellite-based system plays a vital role in the modern world, especially during wartime.
-PM Imran Khan announces unprecedented 10 years development package for tribal districts
Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced a ten-year special development package for tribal districts. Addressing a big public meeting at Jamrud, Khyber district this evening, he said one hundred billion rupees will be spent on the development of tribal areas each year. He said health, education and sports facilities in tribal areas will be enhanced.
-SBP’s Forex Reserves Cross the $10 Billion Mark
The foreign exchange reserves of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have crossed the $10 billion mark by March-end. During the week that ended on 29 March 2019, SBP received inflows of RMB 15 billion (equivalent to US$2.2 billion) as proceeds of the loan obtained by the government of Pakistan from China. After taking into account outflows relating to external debt and other official payments, SBP reserves increased by $1.931 billion during the week.
-Benami Properties: FBR takes an unprecedented step
Federal Board of Revenue has established three Benami Zones at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad for enforcement of Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017. In a press release issued today (Thursday), it was said after examination of available information FBR Benami Zones Karachi and Lahore have issued show cause notices in six cases of Companies holding shares and immovable properties as Benamidar.
-Ministry of Finance proposed to amend Foreign Exchange Regulations Act in Pakistan
Ministry of Finance has proposed to amend the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act 1947 to prevent illegal foreign exchange transactions. Under the proposal, the previous act will be updated with an amendment act to empower the State Bank of Pakistan to regulate foreign exchange regime in the country more effectively.
It said proposed amendment has been approved by the Federal Cabinet and transmitted to Parliament for enactment. The measure is a part of government's efforts to enhance the transparency of financial transactions.
-KP government launches 'Pink Bus Service' exclusively for women
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government launched on Thursday ‘Pink Bus Service’ exclusively for women in Mardan. A spokesman of the project told our Peshawar correspondent that a total of seven Pink Buses will ply in Mardan. There are fifteen bus stops each facilitated with the solar panels.
-Pakistan makes a new offer to Iran, FTA in works
Pakistan has invited Iran for talks on a free trade agreement (FTA). Pakistan has proposed that talks could be held on April 23-24 in Pakistan. The report added that lack of direct banking channel between the two countries is the main hurdle in finalizing the free trade agreement.
-Govt Mulling to Withdraw 10% FED on 1,700cc Vehicles: Abdul Razaq
The government is considering to withdraw its decision of imposing 10% federal excise duty (FED) on cars with engine capacities exceeding 1,700cc. The Senate’s Standing Committee on Industries and Production, on Wednesday, was informed that the 10 percent FED imposed on locally manufactured cars and SUVs, having engine capacity exceeding 1,700cc, would be withdrawn soon.
-Govt to Crackdown Against High Medicine Prices & Launch An Online Price Portal
The federal government has ordered a crackdown against pharmaceutical companies that are illegally increasing medicine prices. Minister for National Health Services (NHS), Aamer Mehmood Kiani, ordered an operation against such firms on Wednesday.
“Though the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) deals with the matter, as a government representative, I consider myself responsible for providing relief to the masses and answerable to them. I am personally looking into the matter and would not tolerate an illegal and unauthorized increase in the prices of medicines,” the minister said.
-Pakistan’s First Environment Friendly Food Festival to Start on 5th April
To discourage single-use plastics and promote sustainable food consumption, WWF-Pakistan is organizing the country’s first environmental-friendly food festival in Karachi. The festival, ReFest, aims to reduce food waste and raise awareness about eating food in a responsible way as well as adopting sustainable practices in our daily lives such as reduced use of single-use plastics. The theme of the festival is to spread awareness about the cause and enjoy the festivals responsibly, as per WWF, festivals were one of the reasons of over-littering due to massive use of single-use plastic in food festivals. The idea is to promote a sense of responsibility among citizens about how we can enjoy and be responsible at the same time.
-Gilgit is Getting a Dedicated Tourism Police Division
Gilgit-Baltistan Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sanaullah Abbasi said that a special tourism force will be formed in the region to ensure the safety of national and foreign tourists. He also told that the GB government will deploy 700 personnel for the protection of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor route. The special tourism force called, “Tourism Police Division” will be set up on the model of Malaysia and Thailand.
-PM takes part in Hyderabad University’s Groundbreaking Ceremony.
The project is projected to complete within 3 years, with over Rs. 2 billion as the estimated cost. The land for building the university has been marked in Kohsar. A bill will be passed from the National Assembly for the construction of the university. The name of the university has been decided as “Federal Urdu University Hyderabad”.
-Facebook Launches Its Innovation Lab Platform in Pakistan
Facebook and Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology along with the National Technology Fund (IGNITE) launched the first Facebook Innovation Lab located in the National Incubation Centre (NIC) at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The launch event, held on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, was attended by several thought leaders from across the world who came together and debated on issues such as women and technology; the impact that VR has on social good and impactful ways to harness technology for social good.
-UN Adopts Pakistan Sponsored Resolution Against Islamophobia
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday strongly condemning acts of violence and terrorism against religious minorities.mThe resolution, titled ‘Combating terrorism and other acts of violence based on religion or belief’ was moved by Turkey and co-sponsored by Pakistan.
Through this, the UNGA condemned the atrocious terrorist attack targeting Muslims during Friday prayers in two mosques at Christchurch, New Zealand this month, while offering deepest condolences to the victim families.The UN assembly called for the protection and promotion of freedom of religion and belief while developing a domestic environment of religious tolerance, respect, and peace.
-Government announces changes for new budget
With the new budget coming up, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government announced on Tuesday its first tax amnesty scheme on hidden domestic and offshore assets – in an attempt to boost the sinking tax revenue.
Besides, the government announced that it would stop the unchecked outflow of dollars through foreign currency accounts, declaring its intention to amend laws to link the outflows for investment with the approval of the authorities. “An asset declaration scheme will be announced before the budget,” Finance Minister Asad Umar told journalists.
-First ever Pakistani international tourism corner opens in Europe
Pakistan has opened its first International Information Tourist Corner in Belgium to offer Europeans Pakistan’s unique culture, stunning scenic view of its northern areas and the traditional lifestyle of mountain people. Launched jointly in collaboration with the Embassy of Pakistan in Brussels and Tribes, a Dutch Company established in Brussels, the tourist corner is the first-ever initiative by the Pakistani mission in Belgium to promote tourism in Pakistan
-Asad Umar hints at withdrawing tax exemptions for elite
Finance Minister Asad Umar on Tuesday hinted at withdrawing tax exemptions being availed by the elite and also announced a drastic reduction in the number of withholding taxes from the next budget including the tax on banking transactions being paid by non-filers of tax returns.
The minister expressed these views at the launching ceremony of a book, ‘Growth and Inequality in Pakistan – Agenda for Reforms’. The book has been written by Dr Hafiz A Pasha whom Umar described as Pakistan’s number one economist. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung – a German institute – has financed the book under the theme of ‘Economy of Tomorrow’. The book discusses almost every important aspect of Pakistan’s economy and carries a detailed chapter on elite capture of the state.
-PM Imran Khan to perform ground breaking of two Naya Pakistan Housing Programme sites
Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to perform the ground-breaking ceremony of two housing projects in Islamabad and Quetta later this month. Both projects are part of PM Khan’s ambition of Naya Pakistan Housing Program (NPHP) under which he promised to deliver 500,000 low-cost residential units to the underprivileged faction of the society.
-PM Khan announces economic corridor between KP Khyber and Afghanistan
PM Imran Khan has announced formation of economic corridor between KP Khyber and Afghanistan for improving trade and economic activities in the region. PM Khan announced that he has issued directives for the Torkham border with Afghanistan to be kept open 24/7 in order to facilitate business and trade for locals.
-First woman principal appointed at K-P police training centre
A police training centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) Mansehra has appointed a woman principal – a first for the province. Sonia Shamroz, an MBA in human resource management and an 18-grade officer, termed her appointment to the billet as a matter of great pride for her family and herself.
-Pakistan expected to get significant export orders at Istanbul fair
Pakistan Consul General in Istanbul Bilal Khan Pasha has said that the auto industry of Pakistan, especially the manufacturers of auto and tractor parts, tyres and tubes, has the potential to make inroads into the Turkish market.
“Turkish automakers and Pakistani engineering companies are negotiating to form joint ventures; in the next phase small and medium enterprises of the two countries will enter into partnerships,” Pasha said while talking to The Express Tribune on the sidelines of the Automechanica exhibition, which kicked off in Istanbul on Thursday. “This year, Pakistani companies manufacturing auto and tractor parts as well as tyre tubes are expected to get significant export orders at Automechanica, which will help increase non-traditional goods export from Pakistan to Turkey,” the consul general said.
-PM Imran urges lawmakers to share meal with homeless at govt shelters
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged lawmakers to visit the homeless at government shelters and “share a meal with the people using them”.
The premier asserted that this practice will sensitise public representatives to issues faced by the bottom tier Pakistani society. “In the coming months I will personally monitor effectiveness of our poverty alleviation jihad,” the prime minister went on to add in a tweet.
Alright people, here it is, I am now going to try and explain the whole rupee fall phenomenon as simply as I can. We're going to first try and discuss the concepts involved here and then look at what our policy makers have done. Here's hoping that you last till the end cause it was quite a lot of effort. Why am I doing this?
I am tired of all the lame rupee fall jokes that flooded my WhatsApp last week. I am tired of all the people telling the government to 'Make it stop!' (Spoiler: It's not that simple). Also, I am going to get out in the job market soon and am too lazy to brush up my basics in a formal way. The prospect of educating fellow redditors makes it worth the effort. Why should you read all of this?
Because you care and by the end of this, hopefully, you'll be able to talk about this in a smarter way which will potentially improve your chances with that girl
It is likely that you may already know the answers to some of the questions here. Go right ahead and skip them because I am trying to do an ELI5 here.
Let's take it from the top. What is a foreign exchange rate?
It is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged with another. Why do foreign exchange rates exist?
Simply because the currency of one country will not be accepted in another. We have a lot of countries and we have a lot of currencies and judging by the feeds on facebook, people travel a lot. Fun fact#1: The US dollar and the Euro account for approximately 50 percent of all currency exchange transactions in the world. Adding British pounds, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, and Japanese yen to the list accounts for over 80 percent of currency exchanges altogether. Who or what decides the exchange rate between two currencies?
On a fundamental level, The value of currency, like the price of any other good or service, depends on its demand and supply. And demand for a currency, say, the US dollar, typically comes from Indian importers, people or institutions that invest in the US and travellers to the US. All these agents require dollars for transacting in the US.
Analogously, exporters to the US, travellers to India and investor inflows supply US dollars in return for rupees to transact in India. If the demand for the rupee decreases compared to, say, the US dollar, the value of the rupee goes down, and vice-versa So, it's all driven by market (buyers and sellers) forces?
No, There are other factors too. But we'll take them up when we're discussing the Indian context. What role does something like RBI do in all this?
To understand this, we're going to dive into a little bit of theory. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of handling your currency's exchange rate:
A. The Floating Exchange Rate: The market determines a floating exchange rate. In other words, a currency is worth whatever buyers are willing to pay for it. This is determined by supply and demand, which is in turn driven by foreign investment, import/export ratios, inflation, and a host of other economic factors. Generally, countries with mature, stable economic markets will use a floating system. Virtually every major nation uses this system. Floating exchange rates are considered more efficient, because the market will automatically correct the rate to reflect inflation and other economic forces.
The floating system isn't perfect, though. If a country's economy suffers from instability, a floating system will discourage investment. Investors could fall victim to wild swings in the exchange rates, as well as disastrous inflation.
Did that previous paragraph ring a bell? Interestingly though, we don't follow a floating rate system. Fun fact#2: Canada is the only country whose currency's value is determined absolutely and entirely by the foreign exchange market or as we just learned, by means of a 'floating exchange rate'. Their Central Bank has never intervened in years.
B. The Fixed or Pegged Exchange Rate: A pegged, or fixed system, is one in which the exchange rate is set and artificially maintained by the government. The rate will be pegged to some other country's dollar, usually the U.S. dollar. The rate will not fluctuate from day to day. You decree that 1 US Dollar will always be equal to 35 Rupees and that is it. Countries that have potentially unstable economies usually use a pegged system. Developing nations can use this system to prevent out-of control-inflation.
And now your thinking: Holy shit! We can do that? Why aren't we doing that? Why don't we get our currency pegged as seen in the Fixed or Pegged Exchange Rate system?
For starters, the system can backfire. If the real world market value of the currency is not reflected by the pegged rate, a black market may spring up, where the currency will be traded at its market value, disregarding the government's peg. When people realize that their currency isn't worth as much as the pegged rate indicates, they may rush to exchange their money for other, more stable currencies. This can lead to economic disaster, since the sudden flood of currency in world markets drives the exchange rate very low. So if a country doesn't take good care of their pegged rate, they may find themselves with worthless currency.
To further explain, assume that the demand for US dollar increases. Consequently, its value increases, such that each dollar can now buy 10 rupees instead of 4 previously. To offset such an increase, the RBI pumps in sufficient amount of dollars into the market to meet the increased demand. This process ensures that the value of the dollar is restored to its original one. The central bank can supply and draw dollars from forex reserves, which is its official kitty.
Well, the problem is, we ain't got much forex reserves.
India’s forex reserves, which stand at $270 billion(As of the end of August, 2013) approximately, cannot defend the falling rupee eternally. To make sense out of that figure, let us assume that one bad day, all foreign investors in our country decide to take back their money (which is extremely unlikely). In that dire situation, the RBI would have to borrow to a tune of $215 million to pay them all back.
To make matters worse, the increasing oil imports and falling export share in the recent months have contributed significantly towards draining (the already concerning levels of) our forex reserves. The arguments above indicate that the RBI does not have sufficient cushion to strictly adhere to a fixed rate regime.
In fact, forex reserves are the only major 'reactionary tool' we have to prevent any speculation based downfall in the value of rupee. So if Forex reserves are so damn important, why haven't we been building them up?
Actually, we have been trying to. Refer this graph
. If you do a simple forex reserves News based search on Google, you'll find that the last month has seen a lot of ups and downs in it implying that the RBI is scrambling to plug the hole by raising and spending these reserves. But it's still not good enough. But but...that is a good graph, why is it not good enough? Enter Mr. CAD, the media's favourite buzzword
At the end of 2007, the Current Account Deficit(Mr. CAD) of India stood at $8 billion. If you refer the above graph, you'll notice that we had a forex reserve of around 300 billion by that time. That means our forex reserves were 37.5 times the CAD. For 2013, the current account deficit is at $90 billion whereas the foreign exchange reserves are down to around $270 billion. That's just around 3 times that of the CAD. That is an alarming fall. What is a Current Account Deficit?
Occurs when a country's total imports of goods, services and transfers is greater than the country's total export of goods, services and transfers. This situation makes a country a net debtor to the rest of the world. So, evidently, it has an impact with your foreign exchange rates. A substantial current account deficit is not necessarily a bad thing for certain countries. Developing countries may run a current account deficit in the short term to increase local productivity and exports in the future. Why is our Current Account Deficit so bad?
Simply because we get a lot of our stuff from the outside. The most significantly burdensome items that we import are Gold and Oil. The two of them together constitute almost 50% of our total imports! Gold
No kidding, we Indians love the yellow metal. We are in fact the largest consumer of Gold in the world. No seriously, our country is single handedly responsible for upto 20% consumption of the worldwide gold consumption. It makes sense to us because not only can we show it off at social events, we can also readily sell it later. In effect, it's like a Saving from the perspective of the mango people. Most Indians are blithely unaware that gold is not locally sourced but actually imported from countries such as Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.
Which is why we had Mr. Chidambaram 'appealing' to us. But nobody's going to listen to your appeals, Sir. My own financial security will always be more important than your CAD-MAD bullshit. Which is why we have steadily increased the import tariffs on Gold imports in an attempt to discourage gold consumption. Not very effective but it's something.
Make no mistake though, although it will be 'nice' to have people buy less gold this season, in the long run, it will save yo ass. Fun Fact#3: "I have never bought gold at any point of time in my life. I don’t wear any jewelry — be it a ring or a chain, For me gold is just another metal, it just shines a little bit more.” - P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister of India - A country which is the largest consumer of Gold. Contd as Comment Below Due to Character Restrictions. Continue Reading at 'Oil'
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