Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Human shield - an Easy Target

It was September of 2011. The entire nation was discussing the mesmerizing, valiant effort that Rahul Dravid put up in the England test series. Everybody praised that poster boy of the gentleman game for having his name on the Lord's honors board. No one cared two hoots about the fact that the then Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, D. Subbarao's term was coming to an end. People did not take to Orkut, Facebook and Twitter to raise support for an extension of his term. It was however, of course extended understandably by Dr. Manmohan Singh. In fact, it is to the credit of D. Subbarao and the Prime Minister during his term, Dr. Manmohan Singh, a former governor himself, that the post of RBI governor has gained popularity.

Why do people now so want Prof. Raghuram Rajan to continue badly? He of course is a firebrand officer, keen to bring about changes and tremendous reforms. It is very true that Dr. Rajan has brought beautiful reforms like bringing down inflation and reviving the banking sector among many other things. Bringing about such reforms is the purpose of the Apex bank of India. Is Dr. Rajan being glorified for doing justice to his job honestly? But why not D. Subbarao back then. In fact, Duvvuri Subbarao is credited to have steered India safely through the 2008 Great Depression even though he had to tackle with it right from day one at office. Does that not demand similar glorification?

They steered change


This is no political campaign for elections nor is it a cricket game, for us to glorify a single person, support him and pray he works well or plays well. No, this is the head of an institution which more or less controls the economic policy of the country. No, the RBI governor is not a representative of the people. He has got higher responsibilities and of course requires to be highly qualified for that. He is unique among people. He understands things which common man cannot. A daily wage labour has no clue what inflation means and how it happens. All he is worried about is, Why is the tamaatar that I bought for thirty rupees a kilo two months ago is now hundred rupees a kilo? Now, just because we have information at hand easily, let us common men not pretend that we understand how Dr. Rajan brought about the real wonderful changes so well. In fact he definitely is dynamic, especially as he talks about Make for India to boost Make in India: a brave explanation. But no, we do not understand what CPI, WPI, NPA, LA etc mean. He spent years understanding economics. We did not. So, people, let us not pretend that we support Dr. Rajan for the reforms he dutifully brought about.

Swamy and Swaminomics

So then why is that people support Dr. Rajan fervently and want him to continue even after he himself expressed to go back to teaching? Definitely it is because of one person: Subramanian Swamy. Giving importance to his claims is as bad as giving importance to Donald Trump's claims about making America great or Gautam Gambhir's claim that he will make a comeback to Indian team. Or are people scared that Subramanian Swamy can convince people with his claims? Anyone who know the professor Rajan would say how good his credentials are. He is capable of making the common people understand the subject through is teachings. Definitely he is going to do very well there. He at least will stay away from fake admiration. Here, people have stooped to levels as low as glorifying Dr. Rajan for watching a cricket match from a non-vip gallery. It is interesting to see Amartya Sen speak for Dr. Rajan. Other 'dignified' people like Swaminathan Aiyar, economist brother of Mani Shankar Aiyar says that Raghuram Rajan gone is billions of investment gone. All this is only a way to get back at Swamy. If Dr. Rajan is being glorified just because Subramanian Swamy opposes him, and is being used as a human shield and made an easy target, it is an insult and disrespect to one of the finest economic thinkers in the world at the moment. It would be an insult to the nice economists the country has in plenty if people are convinced that investments won't come without Rajan.

He steered the ship like a true captain

The prime minister, in an interview recently, very rightly said that the appointment or extension of an RBI governor is an administrative matter and need not attract media attention. In his address to the U.S congress, he praised Paul Krugman, a possible hint that Rajan is not wanted by his government. Who the government appoints is, like it always has been, upto the government. It would of course be their downfall if they don't appoint someone as competitive as Dr. Rajan or D. Subbarao or Y.V. Reddy or many other well deserved governors we had. This is no fashion or cinema related institute. Of course, certainly with the appointments of the Chauhans and the Nihalanis, it is quite natural for the common man to be scared!
It would be wise for the one-eyed king to not poke himself in the only good eye!