Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Raghuram Rajan and RBI

Raghuram Rajan not continuing as RBI Governor for second term has become international news. Many foreign channels have commented and discussed about it. BBC compared him to rock star. This has no precedent.
On 18/6/2016 Raghuram Rajan in his e-mail to RBI colleagues mentioned “While I was open to seeing these developments through, on due reflection, and after consultation with the government, I want to share with you that I will be returning to academia when my term ends on September 4, 2016.”
Raghuram Rajan was a UPA appointee. He did not have the best of relationship with Modi Government. Raghuram Rajan spoke on issues not connected to economy or did not toe the government line. That offended many in the ruling party.
Raghuram Rajan has many admirers. They were hoping he will get a second term. Once Subramanian Swamy started to attack Raghuram Rajan there was doubt over his continuance as RBI Governor. Swamy’s attacks were on issues as well as personal.
One issue on which many blame Raghuram Rajan is interest rates. They say he kept interest rates far too high and far too long to bring down inflation. This affected investment and growth. The critics are wrong. Raghuram Rajan was right to keep interest rates high. Zero interest rate or negative interest rate has not helped any economy. Euro zone countries or Japan have not made progress by having such rates.
Inflation affects Indians as a whole. Low interest rates could have benefitted few industrialists who anyway do not repay loans. They default and go for strategic debt restructuring and corporate debt restructuring which means public money is lost. Public sector banks have lost lakhs of crores of rupees. Raghuram Rajan wanted to make the names of defaulters public. Soon attacks on him began.
Some had predicted Raghuram Rajan’s exit will result in fall in FDI. Modi Government wanted to prove them wrong. So on 20/6/2016 there was clearance for 100% FDI in defence and some other sectors and 74% FDI in Pharma. Congress called it a panic reaction.
Under Raghuram Rajan rupee which had fallen to 69 per dollar had become stable and appreciated close to 55 per dollar and then depreciated and is now around 67 per dollar.
Some are happy and some are unhappy about Raghuram Rajan’s going. BJP members are generally happy. Some economists are industrialists are unhappy. The names of defaulters to public sector banks must be made public. Those who have left the country should be declared robbers and brought back.

Updated: June 21, 2016 — 7:44 am

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  1. Long live crony capitalism!

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