Turkey now, India later?

Eight days in India. Returned Wed. morning. One day in Chennai. Three days in Coimbatore. Two in and near Jaipur and two in Delhi. Singapore feels balmy, on return. It is all relative. That is what Raghuram Rajan said and received opprobrium for saying so. Unfortunate. However, the Governor too spoilt his copybook by dragging it out a bit, unnecessarily in my view, with his comments at the convocation at the National Institute of Bank Management. He should have exhaled longer and deeper.

If Raghuram Rajan were not to be reappointed in September – the chances of that event appear to have gone up considerably and one can ‘guess’ or ‘sense’ dismay on both sides – many would see a comparison with the development in Turkey and that is not particularly flattering for the NDA government. A fortnight ago, I would have dismissed the Turkey precedence for India. But, now?…

In my view, the Government can gnash its teeth in private, have a chat with the Governor and then reappoint him with smiling faces in front of the cameras. That will be good for them too. In fact, the sooner they do it, the better it is for them and for the government’s relationship and image with ‘institutions’. That will enhance their image too, immediately and bury their controversy. Of course, both sides have to bury the hatchet first.

However, my gut-feel tells me that this episode would have crystallised minds on both sides not to renew the relationship. As of now, I think that is bad news for India.

If it turned out that way, the pink and other English language press in India will raise the bogey of ‘intolerance’ again. This time, it will be about this government’s intolerance of intellectuals and with some justification too.

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2 thoughts on “Turkey now, India later?

  1. Dear Ananth,

    Gnashing of teeth in private and smiling in public should be a two-way street. Thus far Dr. Rajan has not exactly been practising that.

    I defer to your superior knowledge of economics and also of economists. But I do worry that if Dr. Rajan were to be reappointed, he might see that as a vindication of his “style” — and that would definitely worry me.

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    1. That is why I had mentioned a ‘chat with the Governor’ before being reappointed. In any case, I disagree with you at two or three levels.

      I would not view the reappointment as a quid pro quo for him to curb his style. Second, the government, in my view, should encourage internal ‘naysayers’ and they should openly encourage such behaviour, as long as they are not policy-criticisms. Third, Dr. Rajan has not been engaging in policy criticism lately, in public. For several months now, in fact. This last issue has been blown completely out of proportion. In fact, there was no issue, at all.

      The supporters of the government are making a big mistake if they try to defend the indefensible and shut out all criticism and critical voices, public or private.

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