As most of economists feel that the most horrible economic problem which India is facing currently is inflation. To come out of these problems RBI and ministry of finance and other relevant government and regulatory entities are taking various initiatives which are as follows;
RBI MONITORY POLICY
With the introduction of the Five year plans, the need for appropriate adjustment in monetary and fiscal policies to suit the pace and pattern of planned development became imperative. The monitory policy since 1952 emphasized the twin aims of the economic policy of the government:
- Spread up economic development in the country to raise national income and standard of living, and
- To control and reduce inflationary pressure in the economy.
This policy of RBI since the First plan period was termed broadly as one of controlled expansion, i.e.; a policy of “adequate financing of economic growth and at the same time the time ensuring reasonable price stability”. Expansion of currency and credit was essential to meet the increased demand for investment funds in an economy like India which had embarked on rapid economic development. Accordingly, RBI helped the economy to expand via expansion of money and credit and attempted to check in rise in prices by the use of selective controls.
OBJECTIVES OF MONITORY POLICY
- PRICE STABILITY
- MONITORY TARGETTING
- INTEREST RATE POLICY
- RESTRUCTURING OF MONEY MARKET
- REGULATION OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKET
WEAPONS OF MONITORY POLICY
Central banks generally use the three quantitative measures to control the volume of credit in an economy, namely:
- Raising bank rates
- Open market operations and
- Variable reserve ratio
However, there are various limitations on the effective working of the quantitative measures of credit control adapted by the central banks and, to that extent, monetary measures to control inflation are weakened. In fact, in controlling inflation moderate monetary measures, by themselves, are relatively ineffective. On the other hand, drastic monetary measures are not good for the economic system because they may easily send the economy into a decline.
In a developing economy there is always an increasing need for credit. Growth requires credit expansion but to check inflation, there is need to contract credit. In such a encounter, the best course is to resort to credit control, restricting the flow of credit into the unproductive, inflation-infected sectors and speculative activities, and diversifying the flow of credit towards the most desirable needs of productive and growth-inducing sector. It should be noted that the impression that the rate of spending can be controlled rigorously by the contraction of credit or money supply is wrong in the context of modern economic societies. In modern community, tangible, wealth is typically represented by claims in the form of securities, bonds, etc., or near moneys, as they are called. Such near moneys are highly liquid assets, and they are very close to being money. They increase the general liquidity of the economy. In these circumstances, it is not so simple to control the rate of spending or total outlays merely by controlling the quantity of money. Thus, there is no immediate and direct relationship between money supply and the price level, as is normally conceived by the traditional quantity theories. When there is inflation in an economy, monetary restraints can, in conjunction with other measures, play a useful role in controlling inflation.
Fiscal policy is another type of budgetary policy in relation to taxation, public borrowing, and public expenditure. To curve the effects of inflation and changes in the total expenditure, fiscal measures would have to be implemented which involves an increase in taxation and decrease in government spending. During inflationary periods the government is supposed to counteract an increase in private spending. It can be cleared noted that during a period of full employment inflation, the aggregate demand in relation to the limited supply of goods and services is reduced to the extent that government expenditures are shortened.
Along with public expenditure, governments must simultaneously increase taxes that would effectively reduce private expenditure, in an effect to minimise inflationary pressures. It is known that when more taxes are imposed, the size of the disposable income diminishes, also the magnitude of the inflationary gap in regards to the availability of the supply of goods and services. In some instances, tax policy has been directed towards restricting demand without restricting level of production. For example, excise duties or sales tax on various commodities may take away the buying power from the consumer goods market without discouraging the level of production. However, some economists point out that this is not a correct way of combating inflation because it may lead to a regressive status within the economy.
As a result, this may lead to a further rise in prices of goods and services, and inflation can spread from one sector of the economy to another and from one type of goods and services to another. Therefore, a reduction in public expenditure, and an increase in taxes produces a cash surplus in the budget. Keynes, however, suggested a programme of compulsory savings, such as deferred pay as an anti-inflationary measure. Deferred pay indicates that the consumer defers a part of his or her wages by buying savings bonds (which, of course, is a sort of public borrowing), which are redeemable after a particular period of time, this is sometimes called forced savings. Additionally, private savings have a strong disinflationary effect on the economy and an increase in these is an important measure for controlling inflation. Government policy should therefore, include devices for increasing savings. A strong savings drive reduces the spendable income of the consumers, without any harmful effects of any kind that are associated with higher taxation. Furthermore, the effects of a large deficit budget, which is mainly responsible for inflation, can be partially offset by covering the deficit through public borrowings. It should be noted that it is only government borrowing from non-bank lenders that has a disinflationary effect. In addition, public debt may be managed in such a way that the supply of money in the country may be controlled. The government should avoid paying back any of its past loans during inflationary periods, in order to prevent an increase in the circulation of money. Anti-inflationary debt management also includes cancellation of public debt held by the central bank out of a budgetary surplus.
Fiscal policy by itself may not be very effective in combating inflation; therefore a combination of fiscal and monetary tools can work together in achieving the desired outcome.
Direct controls refer to the regulatory measures undertaken to convert an open inflation into a repressed one. Such regulatory measures involve the use of direct control on prices and rationing of scarce goods. The function of price control is a fix a legal ceiling, beyond which prices of particular goods may not increase. When ceiling prices are fixed and enforced, it means prices are not allowed to rise further and so, inflation is suppressed. Under price control, producers cannot raise the price beyond a specified level, even though there may be a pressure of excessive demand forcing it up.
In times of the severe scarcity of certain goods, particularly, food grains, government may have to enforce rationing, along with price control. The main function of rationing is to divert consumption from those commodities whose supply needs to be restricted for some special reasons; such as, to make the commodity more available to a larger number of households. Therefore, rationing becomes essential when necessities, such as food grains, are relatively scarce. Rationing has the effect of limiting the variety of quantity of goods available for the good cause of price stability and distributive impartiality.
Another control measure that was suggested is the control of wages as it often becomes necessary in order to stop a wage-price spiral. During galloping inflation, it may be necessary to apply a wage-profit freeze. Ceilings on wages and profits keep down disposable income and, therefore the total effective demand for goods and services. On the other hand, restrictions on imports may also help to increase supplies of essential commodities and ease the inflationary pressure. However, this is possible only to a limited extent, depending upon the balance of payments situation. Similarly, exports may also be reduced in an effort to increase the availability of the domestic supply of essential commodities so that inflation is eased.
In general, monetary and fiscal controls may be used to repress excess demand but direct controls can be more useful when they are applied to specific scarcity areas. As a result, anti-inflationary policies should involve varied programmes and cannot exclusively depend on a particular type of measure only.