This Article is From Jun 08, 2016

RBI Chief Raghuram Rajan To NDTV On Term 2 And Subramanian Swamy's Many Attacks

In an exclusive interview, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan rebuts Subramanian Swamy's attacks and discusses possible reappointment


  • Welcome genuine criticism, will not address ad hominem attacks, he says
  • My work shows love for country:Mr Rajan on claims he's 'not fully Indian'
  • BJP MP Subramanian Swamy wrote to PM seeking Mr Rajan's dismissal
New Delhi: In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Raghuram Rajan, whose possible reappointment as head of the RBI is driving international headlines, said that he "welcomes genuine criticism of our policy but will not address ad hominem attacks" or allegations against him as individual rather than the policies and position he holds. He also said that "I won't comment on a second term. But you've seen my speeches. My ultimate home is in the realm of ideas."

Mr Rajan's three-year tenure as RBI Governor ends in September. "Rexit", a play on Britain's EU referendum, has been coined about whether Mr Rajan will remain in office, reflecting the esteem in which he is held at home and abroad.

Not, however, by Subramanian Swamy, the BJP parliamentarian who has written two letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging that Mr Rajan be refused a second term because of his "willful" moves to "wreck the Indian economy" and because he is "mentally not fully Indian." 

"Certain allegations are so fundamentally wrong and baseless that to address them is to give them legitimacy they don't deserve," Mr Rajan told NDTV. On his "Indian-ness" being questioned in part because he holds a green card, he said, "Indian-ness, love for your country is complicated. For every person there is a different way that you show respect for your mother-in-law will say karmayogi is the way to go - do your work."

A compact group of critics - which reportedly include some officials in the Finance Ministry - have faulted Mr Rajan for refusing to drop interest rates to stimulate growth in his quest to control inflation. But the RBI chief said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and he share a strong working relationship. "It may shock you (but) never has there been a serious disagreement between Mr Arun Jaitley and me," he said.

The PM is reportedly inclined to keep Mr Rajan at the helm of the RBI, though in a recent interview to the Wall Street Journal, he only said that the decision is not due till September.

Yesterday, Mr Rajan left rates unchanged, as was widely expected, after the latest policy review. "A lot of people these days are writing my obituary in the papers. It gives me time to reflect on what remains to be done," he said.

Last week, the markets were briefly spooked when a regional newspaper in Kolkata reported that Mr Rajan has informed the PM that he doesn't want a two-year extension and would prefer to return to the University of Chicago.  

Praise for him has lately been centred on his big push for state-run banks to complete a cleanup of massive debts and force defaulters to pay up.  

Mr Rajan has impeccable credentials as the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and one of the few who predicted the 2007-08 global financial crisis.  

He also generates reams of articles on being "a rock star" economist, "putting the sex back in Sensex", "making the internet swoon" and has been depicted in a cartoon as the James Bond of India's financial world. "Your kids keep you honest, they make fun of you,  my wife does a great job in keeping me fully anchored," he said about how he handles the charges of major and inherent glam quotient.