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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Jalan's swansong deviates from the beaten path

BS Banking Bureau in Mumbai | August 28, 2003 12:11 IST

The Reserve Bank of India's annual report (2002-03), outgoing Governor Bimal Jalan's swansong, is a deviation from the past both in content as well as presentation.

His deputy Rakesh Mohan too played an active role in making of the report. Jalan presented the report -- his sixth annual exercise since taking over in September 1997 -- to the august board of the bank on August 13.

On that day, breaking away from the tradition, Mohan had made a presentation to the board on the content of the report. Normally, the board members are given a copy of the annual report and no presentation is made.

Mohan's role does not end here. The deputy governor also prepared the six-page press release for the report.

RBI insiders vouch for the fact that every word of the release is written by Mohan. "Normally senior executives take a look at important releases at the draft stage. This time, the deputy governor wrote it," said a source. The result of this? Well, the press release independently looks like a document on Indian economy!

The most significant point to note is the transformation of an annual central bank document on Indian economy to an annual report of an entity, which highlights the internal changes in the organisation the way a corporate annual report does.

This is largely a contribution of the new central board of the Bank, which took over three years back. N R Narayana Murthy, Ratan Tata, Amrita Patel, Mihir Rakshit, Ashok S Ganguly and others on the board can take credit for that.

From this perspective, there is a vast difference between Jalan's first two annual reports and the recent ones.

Almost half of the report is now devoted to "workings and operations" of the RBI, which discusses internal matters like currency management, HRD, payments and settlements system and other important issues.

"It is a report card on Indian economy. At the same time it also like a corporate annual report, which talks about the workings of the company. This is important from the corporate governance point of view," said a source close to the RBI.

For records sake, the number of pages of this year's report is 321, up from 316 last year. The number of boxes went up from 39 to 65 and number of tables from 110 to 149.

However, the number of charts went drastically down from 179 to 53. A striking feature is use of bright red and green colour for some of the charts while pale blue cover conforms to the uniform design of all RBI publications.

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