- "Worrying" that there was't enough focus on joblessness: Raghuram Rajan
- He also suggested that government should introspect on notes ban
- "There is a huge hunger for good jobs," the ex-RBI chief said
Former RBI chief Raghuram Rajan said today that it was "worrying" that there was not enough focus in the country on joblessness. "There is a huge hunger for good jobs. Our job statistics have been poor for a long time," he said in an interview to NDTV on his new book "The Third Pillar".
Raghuram Rajan also suggested that the government should introspect on some of its decisions, like the controversial notes ban.
"Enough time has now passed by for us to look back at demonetisation and ask what the learning has been from it? Did it work or not? And what were the positives and negatives...Self-examination is something that every government must do for better governance and efficiency," said the renowned economist.
On the question of lack of jobs, indicated by the NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) recently, Mr Rajan said there was a need for credible data, given complaints about the quality of the data or the "biases" that crept in. "Given that kind of anxiety, it is important, just to convey to the world, that we are not manipulating anything... this is our data, to actually have an independent group look into it and certify that our data indeed is fine or suggest the changes needed," he said.
India, said Mr Rajan, has had a good record with credible data. "We need to take a fairly clean, independent look at our statistics process. What I would think might be useful is to get a panel of independent experts to go through that... and think very carefully about the processes we follow," he said.
India's lack of job creation, he agreed, mirrors the problem in the West. The key issue in India is lack of jobs, said Mr Rajan, who is professor of finance at the University of Chicago.
"We need to improve collection of those statistics (on jobs). We can't rely on the EPFO (Employees' Provident Fund Organisation) or other make-do versions. We need to collect better job data," Mr Rajan said.
Asked to describe what he calls "populist nationalism", Mr Rajan said," It creates friction within the country and it also creates friction between countries...I feel particularly worried when I see groups being singled-out as outsiders. There is a need to knit the country together."
Economy, he said, should be the main discourse as India heads into elections.
"I worry that we are not paying enough attention to the problem of joblessness, not paying enough attention to the kinds of institutions we need, to become a middle income economy, to the next round of reforms that we desperately need," said Mr Rajan.
He added that a strong internal economy is central to national security.