Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category

Ideas of Adam Smith and how they apply to India

October 4, 2021

In this superb podcast, Shruti Rajagopalan and Pratap Bhanu Mehta discuss the ideas of Adam Smith and how they apply to India. There is a transcript of the conversation as well.

Mehta’s PhD dissertation was on Adam Smith. Shruti nicely weaves the coversation around how/whether Smith is relevant for India and under what setting. So many threads here..

Case of J&K Bank: Union Territory of J&K to make Union Territory of Ladakh a promoter in the bank

September 24, 2021

I had blogged on 4-Aug-21 about J&K Govt planning to increase ownership in J&K Bank.

Earlier on 30-Oct-2020, it was decided to make UT of Ladakh a promoter worth 8.23% in the bank.

Following arrangements for Jammu & Kashmir Bank Limited is hereby also made as per the provisions of the SO 339 dated 30.10.2020 issued by the General Administration Department in furtherance of recommendations of Advisory Committee on Assets & Liabilities of erstwhile State of J&K as dakhwith reference to 31.10.2019

a. J&K Bank Ltd. shall continue its operations as a going concern in both the UTs.
b. The UT of J&K shall continue to have majority shareholding in the Bank.
c. 51 % of the shareholding in the J&K Bank Ltd. shall remain with the UT of J&K. The remaining 8.23% shareholding in the J&K Bank Ltd.
(approximately 13.89% as on 31.10.2019 of the existing shareholding of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir), is hereby transferred to the UT of Ladakh.
d. One post of Director on the Board of the J&K Bank is hereby earmarked for the UT of Ladakh.
e. A reasonable proportion of employees of the J&K Bank Ltd. shall be recruited from the UT of Ladakh, details of which shall be worked out by the Bank.

Given this, On 10 Aug-21 J&K Bank sent this letter to SEBI informing of this share transfer. The Bank wanted to know whether it can tranfer the shares subject to continuation of lock-in at the hands of tranferee, which is UT of Ladakh.

SEBI in its reply on 24-Sep-21 provides more clarity on both capital infusion and this transfer. Basically, the Bank has been issuing shares to UT of J&K for this capital infusion and these shares require a lock-in period of 3 years. So, once these shares are transferred to UT Of Ladakh the question is of Lock-in period.

SEBI gives information on the laws that apply under this transfer and broadly allows the transfer but expresses some reservations.

Interesting to see how J&K Bank has become a Union Territory promoted bank with both J&K and Ladakh governments owning the bank.

 

 

The id and the nudge: where Freud meets behavioural economics

September 22, 2021

Briana S Last, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in this aeon article:

We are not perfectly rational. This is obvious to anyone who has eaten more than their fill, exchanged harsh words with a friend, or taken the wrong turn on their morning commute. Less obvious, though, are the ways in which our thoughts, feelings and choices are systematically biased. Behavioural economics, a field that bridges insights from social psychology, cognitive science and economics, emerged in recent decades to explain the constraints on human rationality – uncovering a still-growing list of biases and heuristics, or mental shortcuts. Behavioural economists have also harnessed research findings to improve judgment and decision-making through simple interventions (often called ‘nudges’).

Though the field’s discoveries are genuinely novel, its intellectual influences run deep. Its founders drew inspiration from the 20th century’s most famous theorist on the irrational unconscious: the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. The notable convergences between Freud’s ideas and behavioural economics are a testament to the durability of theories that divide thinking into two processes. Their divergences point to the distinct historical and political moments in which these psychological paradigms surfaced. Freud and behavioural economists have picked up on something distinct, maybe even intrinsic, about the way we think – but they have done so with very different emphases and to describe disparate realities.

 

Israel allows people to switch their bank accounts from one bank to another..

September 22, 2021

India allowed people to switch their mobile services from one player to another. We did see the policy helping people punish inefficient players. There have been calls to allow similar switching in other services particularly banking.

In this regard, interesting to see Israel allowing its people to seamlessly switch their bank accounts from one bank to another from 22-Sep-2021 (today):

As part of the numerous steps being led by the Bank of Israel and the Ministry of Finance to enhance competition in the financial system, a new system will be launched on September 22, 2021. The system enables banking system customers to switch from one bank to another—online, conveniently, and securely, at no cost and within 7 business days. In addition, after switching the activity and automatically closing the old bank account, to the extent that additional activity remains, the credits and debits that reach the old account will be automatically forwarded to the new account (“Follow me” service).

This complex system, which was developed over more than 3 years by the banking system, through, among others, Masav[1] as the project’s main factor, markedly simplifies the existing process of switching, and will enable customers to improve their account terms vis-à-vis the banks.

Minister of Finance Avigdor Liberman said, “Rapid transfer from one bank to another is an important step and an integral part of the policy of enhancing competition that we have adopted in various industries. The transfer is carried out at no cost in order to make the service accessible to all the State’s citizens. We will continue working to reduce bureaucracy in significant focal points that impact on, and ease, our daily conduct.”

Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Amir Yaron said, “Completing this step is another stage on the way toward an open, transparent, and more competitive financial system that we are promoting on several fronts, and that will enable customers to easily and conveniently choose the providers of the various financial services they use. We will continue to utilize the digital age available to us in order to advance processes and reduce barriers in the financial system and in the payment systems. The system was established after diligent work and the investment of considerable resources at the Bank of Israel, together with the Ministry of Finance, Masav, and the various banks, and I would like to commend all the partners in this work.”

They have a dedicated website for this policy.

It will take 7 days to switch from one account to another, Plus the system will allow an individual to receive funds on the old bank account for two years:

In March 2018, an amendment to the Banking (Service to the Customer) Law, 5741-1981, was passed, which requires the banks, at the customer’s request, to act to enable the customer to move his or her activity from the bank in which the account is managed to another bank in an online, convenient, and secure manner, at no cost. The online system will make it possible to switch Israeli households’ current accounts[2] in a convenient and friendly manner, other than accounts with a complicated issue or that have some legal hold against them[3], and thus will markedly simplify the current complexity of the switching process between banks.

The process of switching the account shall take place within 7 business days. Within such process, it will be possible to switch the following financial activities: credit balances in shekels and in foreign currency, debit balances in shekels and in foreign currency, authorized debits of a current account, checks, securities (Israeli and foreign), payment card—bank and nonbank—activities, and standing orders.

With regard to loans (including housing loans), and with regard to deposits and savings, special arrangements were made, according to which the banks will work on an individual basis with the customers regarding the handling of such products.

With the goal of easing things for customers, the process of switching banks through the system will also allow a “Follow me” (routing) mechanism for two years from the date of the switch. This means that transactions[4] that arrive at the old account after the switch, will be automatically routed to the new account, in contrast to the current situation in which all debits and credits are returned because the account is closed, and the customer must contact the various entities that are crediting or debiting the account.

In order to simplify the process, for any issue that arises during the process of switching banks, customers will have one address—the new bank—which the customer can contact about any issue. It is also noted that in a case of failure in the switching process or the “Follow me” mechanism, it will be the new bank’s responsibility within the framework of legislation that is currently being promoted by the Ministry of Finance.

Submitting a request for transferring between banks will be possible via the banks’ websites (via home computer or mobile device) as well as at bank branches.

Really interesting to see how this will work out.

I think other countries could consider implementing this as well. If implemented in India, will be super interesting to see how people will switch banks. If one were to guess, the weak performing public sector banks might lose most customers to larger public sector banks and private banks. This alone could lead to closure of some poorly performing public sector and private banks.

The problem with such a policy could be that if any bank goes into trouble, it will lead to a switching run. The customers will not just demand back deposits but switch them at ease. Good for customers but could be really difficult for banks..

Waheeda Rehman: Hindi Cinema’s Foremost Roseate Star

September 21, 2021

Rajgopal Nidamboor profiles Waheeda Rehman’s life and her work in Hindi Cinema.

Waheeda Rehman, born in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, became one of Hindi cinema’s leading stars. Her acting prowess, delightful smile and elegance won her many admirers across the world.

But life hasn’t always been easy for Waheeda. She had to fight many battles at a young age. Her father’s death, when she was in her teens, came as a shock to her family. As family fortunes dwindled, Waheeda, who wanted to become a doctor, changed the course of her life.

She took up acting; took roles that came to her as a young artist. Her first appearance was in the Telugu film Rojulu Marayi. From there, she moved on to Hindi cinema, taking up roles offered by the filmmaker Guru Dutt. She remained steadfast in her acting career and reigned the silver screen for decades. Now, 83 years young, she is full of grace, charm and poise.

How a dam was built on river Cauvery by M. Visvesvaraya and led to sharp criticism..

September 17, 2021

Bharat Ratna M. Visvesvaraya was born on 15 September 1860/1861.

Prof Aparajith Ramnath of Ahmedabad Uni writes a superb account of how Visvesvaraya built the dam on river Cauvery against all odds. And how the expenditure on dam met with sharp criticism:

Paris and the Eiffel Tower, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, Kolkata and the Howrah Bridge: some cities are fused in the imagination with iconic engineering works. If the more modestly sized city of Mysuru has such a symbol, it is the Krishnarajasagara or KRS reservoir and dam, constructed across the Cauvery River between 1911 and 1932.

The KRS, located about 20 km north of the city, is a constant presence in the lives of Mysoreans. Every summer, the newspapers are full of reports about the water levels in the reservoir, which irrigates large agricultural tracts and supplies drinking water across Karnataka. Locals and tourists encounter the KRS when they picnic at the Brindavan Gardens, laid out with shimmering lights and musical fountains in the shadow of the towering 130-foot dam. In the rains, many drive up to the dam’s waste weir to watch the water gush through the open sluices. Behind the dam lies the reservoir, a gigantic sea of blue—the sagara named after Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, erstwhile monarch of the state of Mysore.

But the KRS’s story is more closely tied to another, larger-than-life historical figure: Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. It was during his time as Chief Engineer of Mysore that the project was green-lit; it was during his subsequent tenure as Dewan, or prime minister, that the early phases were constructed.

Very well written!

Afghanistan Crisis: US President Joe Biden knew what British Prime Minister Clement Attlee knew in 1947…

September 7, 2021

Ian Buruma reflects on the Afghan Crisis. He says US President Joe Biden knew what British Prime Minister Clement Attlee knew in 1947:

On February 20, 1947, Clement Attlee, the socialist British prime minister, informed parliament that India would become independent no later than June 1948. Attlee could not wait for the British to withdraw from a country whose leaders, Muslim and Hindu, had long been clamoring for independence. But India was seething with violent unrest. Muslim leaders were afraid of Hindu dominance. Worried that a civil war might land the British in an uncontrollable situation, Attlee decided to end the British Raj even earlier.

Indian independence began on August 14, 1947. Pakistan broke away. Horrendous violence between Hindus and Muslims claimed a half-million lives. Many more lost their homes. The wounds of partition are yet to heal.

Attlee was widely blamed for getting out too soon and leaving the former colony in chaos. If only a better police force had been organized. If only the army could have kept order. If only the British could have left once the country was stable.

US President Joe Biden now finds himself in the same situation. American troops have left Afghanistan in a bloody mess. Critics of Biden’s decision to withdraw claim that the United States should have stayed longer. In the opinion of Robert Kagan, a well-known American promotor of robust military policies, the US should have promised to stay at least 20 years, instead of being non-committal. After all, the US military presence was minimal and could easily be afforded. But in that case, why just 20 years? Why not 40? Why not forever?

The question is whether Attlee, or Biden, could ever have left India or Afghanistan in a stable condition. At least Attlee knew that India, and even Pakistan, would be governed by responsible, mostly moderate men. Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammed Ali Jinnah were nothing like the Taliban. Both were widely regarded as legitimate leaders – and still there was a civil war. Biden didn’t even have the luxury of leaving Afghanistan in capable hands.

It is easy to blame Attlee and Biden for the violence that followed their decisions. Perhaps they made mistakes. In hindsight, it may be possible to see how they could have mitigated some of the damage. But both leaders were caught in the same colonial trap that ensnared so many other imperial powers. Once you make local elites dependent on the power and money of a foreign occupier, it becomes almost impossible to leave without causing mayhem. And the longer the foreign power stays, the worse the mayhem often becomes.

Leave this to historians to discuss where these two episodes have parallels or not…

What’s worth knowing in economics: Less finance & micro and more welfare & history?

September 7, 2021

Peter Andre and Armin Falk survey 10000 academic economists to find what is worth knowing in economics. They present their findings on voxeu:

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There’s No Say’s Law in Classroom Teaching

September 3, 2021

What a blogpost from Ashish who writes the Econforeverybody blog.

Yes, that’s not exactly what he said, but I’m going with the definition we all “know”. And I’m going to repurpose that popular definition for going on a rant about classroom teaching.

Supply does not create its own demand.

That is, the supply of education in the classroom does not create the demand for education in the classroom. 

Do you have a memory of staring out the classroom window, having given up on waiting for time to move faster? My congratulations to you if you have never once experienced this emotion across school and college, because it was my only emotion in almost all classes I ever attended. And boredom of an excruciating nature was my only emotion because all classes were tremendously boring.

Some were instructive. Some teachers/professors really knew their stuff. Two professors, who I am lucky enough to still have as mentors, were the best professors I have ever had. But even they didn’t think it was their responsibility to inspire the class to learn more. A Walter Lewin type moment in a class that I attended? It has happened not more than one or two times across over two decades of sitting in classrooms.

And this is, even today, something that enrages me.

Speaks for most students really.

How to teach? Concepts or curiosity? We usually say teach concepts and curiosity will follow. Ashish turns it around and says pique their curiosity and concepts will follow:

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Selling the 786 series Indian currency note on ebay

September 3, 2021

Interesting bit of news on DNA:

There are many people in the world who love to collect antique things, including old and rare notes and coins. If you are in possession of old and rare coins or notes, then you can get lakhs of rupees in return. Yes, you read that right. An old note of the 786 series can help you earn as much as Rs 3 lakh by sitting at home. 

It does not matter how many such notes you have, whether you have 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 notes, but the number 786 should be printed on it. So, if you have a collection of notes and there is a series of 786 number notes, then do not delay. Quickly go to the eBay website and get the value of your note there. It is to be noted that the the number is considered lucky by Muslims.

Why should the Rs 100 currency note sell for more than Rs 100? Obviously, people are valuing the note for other purposes such as good luck, religious purposes and so on. But then it is all so ironical.

The significance of number 786 takes one to the 1975 blockbuster movie Deewar in which Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor played the lead actors.

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Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher

September 1, 2021

Aeon has a 19\\ documentary on EF Schumacher’s work/life:

‘Like all good revolutionaries, he travels light…’

A protégé of John Maynard Keynes, the German-British economist Ernst Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Schumacher (1911-77) came of age in step with his contemporaries who emphasised growth as they endeavoured to rebuild the modern world following the Second World War.

Midway though his career, however, Schumacher began to believe that the increasingly complex global economy and the increasingly intricate machinery it was built on were proving ruinous for humanity. Influenced by Buddhist teachings, he developed a set of principles he called ‘Buddhist economics’, based on the beliefs that meaningful work is an essential part of being human, simple technology is valuable only to the extent that it meets needs, and the interconnected modern economy is disastrous to humankind and the environment.

He trimmed his thesis to an eloquent three words for his landmark book Small Is Beautiful (1973), which brims with ideas that are today familiar to most and embraced by many, and is often cited as one of the most influential postwar works of economics.

This documentary profile of Schumacher from 1977 captures him at the height of his influence and, incidentally, in the months leading up to his death, exploring his thoughtful philosophies of work, technology and human dignity.

 

Kaun Banega Crorepati ‘s 7 crore question, Indian Economic History and Dr Ambedkar

September 1, 2021

In the Kaun Banega Crorepati yesterday, the contestant Himani Bundela (what a story of a disabled person beating all) reached the highest question of Rs 7 crore. Surprising, the question came from Indian economic/monetary history:

7 Crore Question asked from Himani – KBC Contestant Season 13 – Kaun Banega  Crorepati Registration Information

As a student of eco history, I was obviously jumping knowing the answer even before the options came on the screen. Ambedkar’s LSE thesis on The Problem of the Rupee is one of its kind with deep dive in Indian monetary history. He even debated what kind of a central bank India should have and disagreed with Lord Keynes view on the central banking issue.

A fitting tribute to Dr Ambedkar that knowhow of the title of his thesis is worthy of a Rs 7 crore question. Also a reminder how we have mostly forgotten Dr Ambedkar’s contribution to economics…

75 years of Orwell’s Animal Farm: A classic of all time

August 27, 2021

Animal Farm was published in England in 1945 and in 1946 in US.

Mark Satta pays tribute and says how the book and Orwellian opposition of totalitarianism remains as relevant as ever.

Paying via (smart) wrist watches in India..

August 27, 2021

RBI has allowed one to make digital payments via different consumer services:

We invite reference to our circular DPSS.CO.PD No.1463/02.14.003/2018-19 dated January 08, 2019 on “Tokenisation – Card transactions”, permitting authorised card networks to offer card tokenisation services to any token requestor, subject to the conditions listed therein. The facility was available only for mobile phones and tablets of interested card holders. There has been an uptake in the volume of tokenised card transactions during the recent months.

2. On a review of the framework and keeping in view stakeholder feedback, it has been decided to extend the scope of tokenisation to include consumer devices – laptops, desktops, wearables (wrist watches, bands, etc.), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, etc. All other provisions of the circular referred to above shall continue to be applicable. This initiative is expected to make card transactions more safe, secure and convenient for the users.

What does tokenisation mean?

Tokenisation refers to replacement of actual card details with an unique alternate code called the “token”, which shall be unique for a combination of card, token requestor and device (referred hereafter as “identified device”)

Example? When we go to say an amusement park, we pay and get a card/token which is for a value. We enter the park and spend on different rides/food etc paying from the card/token. Then on return we give the token back (detokenisation) and get whatever cash is remaining back.

Something similar happens in these digital payments too. You store your money as a token in different wallets held in smartphone, tablets and now watches. As these digital payments are increasingly becoming acceptable by merchants, so we can make payments as if in an amusement park.

The origins of humble masala dosai..

August 26, 2021

Who can lay claim to the masala dosai? Venkataraghavan Srinivasan in this TheFederal article explores the question:

The humble dosai’s origin has been documented clearly to be from ‘Tamilakam’ backed by Sangam literature by food historian K T Achaya, who argued that ‘dosa’ was already in use in the ancient Tamil country around the 1st century AD. The polemics on this topic gets conflated with historian P Thankappan Nair’s claim that ‘dose’ originated in the Udupi town of present-day Karnataka.

This author who is a frequent traveller between Udupi and Madras (Chennai) took it upon himself to get to the root of the matter. He went in search of the Adigas, the family associated with the temple kitchens in south Canara, which takes us to Udupi. 

Udupi is arguably the birthplace of food entrepreneurship as well, cooks who used to work with temples migrated to different places in India, including to the Bombay Presidency, the place that provided venture capital required to set up their eateries. In fact, the capital was provided by the community of South Canara bankers.

One such enterprising man was Krishna Rao, who was born in Udupi’s temple town. Krishna Rao decided to venture out to the ‘black town’ of Madras, around circa 1930s, to make a living as a kitchen help. The hard-working Krishna Rao then went on to take up a ‘franchise’ of Sharada Vilas in George Town (where he had worked initially) and set up a small eatery to cater to the merchants of Kotawal Chawadi, where he achieved a bit of success. 

But Krishna Rao had tasted success and was hungry for more. Backed by ‘venture capital’ from his hometown Udupi, he opened ‘Udupi Krishna Vilas’ at the corner junction of the road leading to the Marina Beach from Mount Road. 

….

Coming back to the argument of the origin of the dosai, even if one concedes that masala dosa stemmed from the temple town of Udupi, geography and history make Udupi very much part of the Madras Presidency of that time. 

Therefore, while celebrating Madras Day on August 22, let us reclaim a slice of this food history and celebrate the crispy dosa with a cup of sambhar brimming with flavour. 

Hmm.. I don’t think this battle will ever end and let us leave it to the food historians..

For the rest of us, let us just enjoy eating the wonderful mouth watering dish from South India which has become so famous globally..

IIM Ahmedabad’s 2nd International Conference on Indian Business & Economic History

August 25, 2021

The conference (25-27 May 2021) starts today at 2 PM.

The conference agenda is superb as always. Interested folks can register for the conference here.

 

Economics geographic diversity problem: It is just a US and Western Europe discipline

August 10, 2021

Dani Rodrik in Proj Syndicate points to another diversity problem facing economics:

Although economists are finally addressing their profession’s gender and racial imbalances, another key source of knowledge and insight remains absent from the discussion. Until there is a greater representation of voices from outside North America and Western Europe, economics will not be a truly global discipline.

In an earlier piece, I pointed how the editorial boards of leading journals are mainly from US.

Further, Rodrik’s own experience:

When I recently took over as president of the International Economic Association, I looked for data on the geographical diversity of contributors to economics publications, but I found comprehensive and systematic evidence to be surprisingly scarce. Fortunately, data collected recently by Magda Fontana and Paolo Racca of the University of Turin and Fabio Montobbio of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan provide some striking initial findings.

As I suspected, their data show an extreme geographic concentration of authorship in leading economic journals. Nearly 90% of authors in the top eight journals are based in the United States and Western Europe. Moreover, the situation seems similar with these publications’ editorial board membership.

Given that these rich countries account for only around one-third of global GDP, the extreme concentration cannot be explained wholly by inadequate resources or less investment in education and training in the rest of the world – though those factors surely must play some role. 

Indeed, some countries that have made huge economic strides in recent years nonetheless continue to be severely under-represented in top journals. East Asia produces nearly one-third of global economic output, yet economists based in the region contribute less than 5% of the articles in major journals. Similarly, the shares of publications from South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are minute, and significantly lower than these regions’ already small weight in the world economy.

Sovereign issuers explore digital options to raise funds

July 30, 2021

Philip Moore in this OMFIF piece points to how some governments are going the digital route to raise funds:

When it launched its first digital bond on a public blockchain in April, the European Investment Bank provided a glimpse into how primary markets for sovereign and supranational borrowers may function in years to come. Arranged by Goldman Sachs, Santander and Société Générale, the €100m two-year bond was launched in partnership with Banque de France as part of its experiment on the use of central bank digital currencies for settling bonds.

Panellists at a recent OMFIF meeting on sovereign debt agreed that this pilot transaction had been a success. ‘It went very smoothly,’ said Christian Kopf, head of fixed income at Union Investment Group, which participated in the deal. ‘We went through the entire process at Union and settled without any problem. It’s a promising development, although I’m still unsure about how the issue of counterparty risk will be dealt with in the secondary market.’

The Banque de France followed up at the end of June with a simulated sale of a fungible Treasury bond (or Obligations Assimilables du Trésor) on a permissioned blockchain. The experiment was followed by several secondary market operations performed on these bonds. Cash settlements were simulated by a CBDC issued on the blockchain. The experiment required the development and deployment of smart contracts so that the Banque de France could issue and control the circulation of CBDC tokens and ensure that their transfer takes place simultaneously with the delivery of the OATs into the investors’ portfolio.

Shizo Kanakuri: The Man Who Took 54 Years To Complete An Olympic Marathon

July 30, 2021

What an article in Madras Courier.

A marathon race stretches over 42.925 kilometres or 26.2 miles. On average, people take about four to five hours to complete it. However, Shizo Kanakuri took 54 years. You are about to read the fascinating life-story of Shizo who collapsed in the olympics and then mysteriously vanished.

Vatican moving towards financial transparency

July 27, 2021

Interesting bit of news from Vatican. Within Vatican, there is Office of Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic (APSA) which oversees the Vatican properties. ASPA was created in 1967 and has for the first time released its annual report!

In 2020, profits were less than 51 million euros, while financial investments amounted to 1.778 billion euros; while contributions for the needs of the Roman Curia were halved from 41 to 20 million euros. Nonetheless, the figures were generally positive, considering the serious consequences of the pandemic.

For the first time since it was established in 1967, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See – known from its Italian initials as “APSA” – has published its balance sheet. The document concerns the fiscal year of 2020. APSA’s president, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, explains that the decision to publish the budget stems from the “hope” of increasing confidence in the work of the Church, as well as the desire to transform the Dicastery, which was established by Paul VI, from a “structure that mainly offers services on demand” to a “proactive reality” in the way it administers the heritage entrusted to it. 

In an interview with Vatican Media, Bishop Galantino notes that this is not the first time that APSA has drawn up its balance sheet. “It was already done in the past,” he explained, with budgets being presented to supervisory bodies for approval. However, this is the first time the records have been made public. “It is certainly a step forward in terms of transparency,” the bishop said.

The president also noted that the decision by Pope Francis, enacted with a Motu proprio dated 28 December 2020, to transfer the funds and properties of the Secretariat of State to APSA. Bishop Galantino pointed out that decision involved not only “a transfer of material and competencies,” but the building of “a new culture that is not only administrative, which must gradually permeate” the dicastery.

The report details the work of the APSA during the months marked by the health emergency. It also provides useful information to refute false narratives about the size and value in use of the Holy See’s assets. It explains, for example, that it is thanks to the rental of prestigious properties in Paris and London that it was possible to grant a free loan to the Office of Papal Charities to obtain an historic building such as Palazzo Migliori, where the homeless are housed through the efforts of the Sant’Egidio Community.

The report is here. There is more to the story here.

How finance moves around religion is such a fascinating history.

 


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