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Suman Bery

Suman Bery

Suman Bery was most recently Shell’s Chief Economist, based in The Hague, The Netherlands. He is currently a Nonresident Fellow of the Brussels think-tank Bruegel, as well as a Senior Fellow of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. He is based in New Delhi.

Articles by Suman Bery

COVID-19 and India: economic impact and response

May 27, 2020

This piece was published the day before India imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in its response to the COVID-19 response. It remains relevant in assessing the government’s actions in the ten weeks that have since passed.
A group has been convened under the leadership of the Finance Minister to coordinate the government’s response to the economic and financial consequences for India of the COVID-19 virus. Some of these consequences are already evident; others will follow. Policymakers, here and elsewhere are dealing with massive uncertainty on both medical and economic fronts. Yet they need to act, as the costs of delay could be large.
In all affected countries medical and economic imperatives are deeply intertwined. A lockdown (as imposed in New York, Milan and now New Delhi)

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India navigates a new global order

February 3, 2020

India’s economic diplomacy must seek to strengthen a reformed and inclusive multilateralism.With Indian economic growth slowing, commentary is focused on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 2020–21 Union Budget.Less public attention is being paid to India’s external challenges.  The world economy matters to India today and India has itself become a global player. The rules-based multilateral economic order which supported global integration for a generation is under widespread challenge.  As multilateral institutions weaken and bilateral negotiations assume centre stage, India is compelled to articulate an economic sovereignty that’s politically grounded domestically while remaining sufficiently flexible to grasp opportunities in the years ahead.Deep shifts in global order have been

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The world deserves a more effective G20

November 29, 2018

As the presidency shifts from Argentina to Japan at Buenos Aires (and then to Saudi Arabia) it is worth asking why the G20 has endured this long and what it needs to remain relevant in a dramatically changed world.

This opinion has been published in:

When the Group of Twenty (G20) leaders meet in Buenos Aires at the end of this month, it will be a decade since their first meeting in Washington. As the presidency shifts from Argentina to Japan at Buenos Aires (and then to Saudi Arabia) it is worth asking why the G20 has endured this long and what it needs to remain relevant in a dramatically changed world.
The G20 encompasses a much more diverse group of actors than the Group of Seven (G7) countries that preceded it, and that brought it into being. In a review I have just completed

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The G20 turns ten: what’s past is prologue

November 15, 2018

This Policy Contribution assesses the performance of the G20 since its first summit held in November 2008 to understand what could lie ahead for the institution.

The first G20 leaders’ summit was held in Washington DC in November 2008. This Policy Contribution assesses the performance of this informal but influential institution since then to understand what could lie ahead. We focus on the coordination of national economic policies as this has been at the core of the G20 leaders’ agenda throughout the decade.
The G20 leaders created a supportive political environment for strong national and global actions soon after they first met. This prevented a global depression but was followed by an uneven recovery. The leaders early on called for enhanced coordination of macroeconomic

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Long-term growth potential, or dead in the long run?

October 5, 2017

By linking growth with both employment and the imperative for India to hold its own with China for strategic autonomy, Prime Minister Modi has brought sustainable, high quality, inclusive economic growth to the centre of political discussion, which is where it rightfully belongs.

For the tribe of policy economists, Navratri and Durga Puja this year had an excitement beyond the ordinary. The source of this was an article last Wednesday by former BJP finance minister Yashwant Sinha in the Indian Express, expressing his concern for the present state of the economy and its future prospects. He feared it was headed for a hard landing, as a result of poor policy judgment and self-inflicted shocks.
Given his seniority and experience Mr Sinha’s cri de coeur has understandably provoked a

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Engagement in a time of turbulence

July 5, 2017

The arrival of China as an increasingly significant setter of global standards may be uncomfortable for India but is near-inevitable and needs to be planned for.

About six weeks ago India curtly and publicly declined to attend Chinese President Xi’s Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. India’s snub of Beijing was both uncharacteristic and controversial, although not unexpected. Since then, Prime Minister Modi and his senior officials have been engaged in a hectic circuit of visits and diplomacy, with a diverse set of partners and interlocutors. These have included the African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings in Gandhinagar; the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Astana; a round of country visits to Russia, Spain, France and Germany; and most recently to the US,

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Demonetisation: India’s stress test

January 30, 2017

What were the reasons for the Indian government’s sudden decision to remove 86% of hard currency from circulation? Will Modi’s monetary intervention achieve its stated aim of fighting corruption? And what will be the wider implications for growth?

There has been extensive global coverage of India’s forced exchange of its high-value currency notes  almost three months ago, referred to locally as ‘demonetisation’. This week the world is again watching India, as the government is about to publish the Union Budget for the fiscal year 2018 (starting 1 April 2017). It is therefore a good moment to assess the goals and impact of the controversial demonetisation over the short- and medium-term
A first observation is that the political fall-out has been remarkably mild. Nevertheless, estimates of GDP growth for the current fiscal year have been reduced by between 0.5% and 1%, largely on account of the disruption to both consumption and production caused by the intervention.
The longer-term benefits (particularly in the form of a radical shift in tax compliance) will depend on follow-up actions, including those that may be announced in the forthcoming Budget. The political impact will be more easily gauged on 11 March when the results of elections in five Indian states are announced, including the most populous, Uttar Pradesh (U.P.

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India’s economic journey: why should Europe care?

October 24, 2016

Which political and economic policy domains link India and Europe? Which key issues, challenges and debates are engaging the Modi government half-way through its five-year term? This post sets the scene for periodic posts on strategic dimensions of relations between India and Europe now and into the future.

History and strategy
The Indian subcontinent and Europe have had human and commercial links since at least the time of Alexander the Great, more fully documented since Roman times. The depth of engagement, intellectual and strategic, increased dramatically in the age of exploration and colonisation. This engagement was clearly deepest with Great Britain, but France, Portugal, The Netherlands and even Denmark each had their sub-continental moment.
As Niall Ferguson (2003), among others, has pointed out, the Indian Army was central to the projection of British power in Africa. The centenary of the Great War has served to remind us of the involvement of Indian troops in the Imperial war effort from Passchendaele to Mesopotamia.  Looking ahead Robert Kaplan (2011) has argued that the Indian Ocean promises to replace the Atlantic and perhaps even the Pacific as the major geopolitical arena in the 21st century.

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