Dr. Subbarao’s book is out

I had not read the book yet. I will buy it. But, newspapers in India are full of stories of how the two Finance Ministers of the UPA government – Pranab Mukherjee (the President of India now!) and Mr. Chidambaram – constantly sought to undermine RBI.

You can read one newspaper story here.

This does put the recent controversy over the reappointment of Raghuram Rajan in certain perspective. Clearly, the former FM had no moral authority to question the (highly questionable) methods that the present government had adopted with respect to Dr. Raghuram Rajan.

What it tells us is that the institutional maturity of the Indian political establishment and bureaucratic establishment – for the most part – is far removed from where it should be, for a country that aspires to become a middle-income country.

If anything, that should be included as one of the indicators of development status along with HDI.

Developed countries went through this curve, put in institutional safeguards and are now beginning to undermine them. They are now in the descending phase of their ‘governance of civilised societies’ curve. We would like to believe that we are in the ascending phase of the curve.

But, since both sides – developed and developing countries – are at the same points in the curve, it appears that today’s developing countries are no different from the developed countries today.

That is wrong and bad news because developed countries have lost the moral right to pull up or advice developing countries on the proper norms and methods of how civilised societies govern themselves.

A critical piece I wrote for MINT on one of his decisions and speeches is here. Unfortunately, my fears came true few months later.

A month before he demitted office in August 2013, I wanted to spare a thought for Dr. Subbarao, the RBI Governor.

A farewell blog post I wrote on his retirement from RBI is here.

I invoked Dr. Subbarao in June 2015 to argue that monetary policy is only a small part of the problem in India. It still holds true.

[Tailpiece: T. N. Ninan had noted that P. Chidambaram had written a blurb for Dr. Subbarao’s book in the back cover. He has noted that Dr. Subbarao’ intellectual integrity had shone through every page of the book. It is a high and richly deserved tribute. It is highly unlikely that he would have written it without reading the book and taking note of the critical content. It attests to his maturity and wisdom. It reflects very well on both the author and Mr. Chidambaram. I doubt if Ministers in the present government would dare to write a tribute for Raghuram Rajan, if he chose to pen a critical memoir.]



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