Raghuram Govind Rajan , who figured in the Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world, has quit as RBI Governor.
The engineer-turned economist, will go down as perhaps the most flamboyant and outspoken Reserve Bank governors that India has ever seen. In the nearly three years that he has occupied the 18th floor office of the RBI building on Mint Street in Mumbai, Rajan has taken several steps to modernize the country’s central bank. Along the way he has earned several nicknames “Rockstar”, “the Guv” and his speeches and press conferences have been tracked like the twists and turns of a T-20 cricket match.
Such was his charm that young girls chased him for selfies and columnists penned articles titled `The Unbearable Hotness of Being Raghuram Rajan’.Even the Financial Times waxed on about his squash and tennis honed physique while Shobhaa De pointed out that “it’s not often that one gets an RBI Guv who makes hearts (not just female ones) go dhak dhak each time he strides into a room.” He took office at a time when the foreign exchange market was caught in the storm sweeping the globe. But he quickly steadied the ship which prompted some to compare him with the legendary spymaster James Bond. After all, he did famously declare, “My name is Rajan and I do what I do”.
The former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief economist was also vocal about the need for tolerance after the Dadri incident, the government’s Make in India initiative and the scorching growth rate which the government has been showcasing as one its key achievements. His statement comparing the Indian economy with `a one-eyed king in a blind world’ made headlines.
Rajan, who figured in the Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world, attracted criticism from sections of the Narendra Modi government for his reluctance to cut interest rates. For him economic logic was above populism as he pointed to the lurking inflationary pressures.
Reams of newsprint were devoted to his reappointment, and thousands went on to sign online petitions demanding a second term for him.
hen he leaves office in September monetary policy may again slip back into its dreary world. As for Rajan, his RBI stint turned out to be a sprint and not the marathons he likes to run.