From IMF to RBI, Meet Raghuram Rajan, on His 58th Birthday

On his 58th birthday, Rajan has critics and cheerleaders in equal measure.

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Business
3 min read
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. 
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(This article was originally published on 3 February 2016. It has been republished from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Raghuram Rajan’s 58th birthday.)

Former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan turns 58 on Wednesday. More than eight years ago, on 5 September 2013, Rajan took over the reins from D Subbarao, becoming India’s youngest central bank governor after Manmohan Singh.

With Rajan’s background as a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief economist and a professor of finance at the University of Chicago, his appointment as the RBI governor was celebrated by Indian and international financial markets.

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

During his tenure so far, he has been credited with successfully managing the monetary policy and rebuilding India’s foreign exchange reserves.

(Photo: IANS)
(Photo: IANS)

Some would say that the governor has had luck firmly on his side as he fought to tame inflation. When Rajan took office, India was in an economic crisis, with a sharply depreciated rupee, alarming current account deficit and very high inflationary pressures. India’s foreign exchange reserves had also been significantly eroded. But helped by the collapse in oil prices, inflation gradually came under control and forex reserves improved sharply.

(Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://www.imf.org/external/index.htm">International Monetary Fund</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: International Monetary Fund)

If there is an area where Rajan has been subject to criticism by the government and the Indian industry, it is that he may not have cut policy rates fast enough given the slowdown in inflationary pressures.

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

The RBI has seen many governors with both, the highest intellect and integrity, but probably none as popular, not just in India but globally. And perhaps none who speaks his mind with the courage of conviction and does so with an air of confidence that surpasses his territory.

Be it questioning “Make in India” and instead suggesting “Make for India”, going after willful defaulters, or telling a room full of journalists the “RBI is not a cheerleader”, Rajan calls a spade, a spade.

On Willful Defaulters (Read Vijay Mallya and the Likes)

(Photo: IANS)
(Photo: IANS)

Letter to RBI Employees on New Year

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

On Make for India (Not Make in India)

Raghuram Rajan with Arun Jaitley (left) (Photo: IANS)
Raghuram Rajan with Arun Jaitley (left) (Photo: IANS)

On RBI’s Role

(Photo: IANS)
(Photo: IANS)

Clarion Call on Intolerance

Rajan with the former J&amp;K CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed (left). (Photo: IANS)
Rajan with the former J&K CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed (left). (Photo: IANS)

Central Banks Can’t Solve All Your Problems

Rajan with PM Modi. (Photo: IANS)
Rajan with PM Modi. (Photo: IANS)

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