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Raghuram Rajan is back with I Do What I Do

August 24, 2017 11:45 IST

RBI ex-governor’s book on ‘those turbulent but exciting times’ to be launched on Sept 5 in Chennai.

Exactly a year after leaving the Reserve Bank of India as its governor, Raghuram Rajan is coming out with a new book containing his commentary and speeches.

According to HarperCollins India, which is the publisher of the book, it would offer “a front-row view” of his tenure at the central bank in “those turbulent but exciting times”. The book is titled I Do What I Do.

Priced at Rs 699, the book is available for pre-order at a discount of 24-25 per cent on Amazon and Flipkart.

 

Rajan had said in his last days at the RBI that he won’t be engaging in public discourse for a year after leaving the central bank. The book is being launched after completion of that period.

It would be formally launched in Chennai on September 5 and then in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rajan is expected to be present in the launch programmes.

The book takes its name from Rajan’s famous quote on September 29, 2015, policy, when the RBI had cut rates by half a percentage point, surprising many.

In that policy, he was asked if he was Santa Claus to gift the economy a larger than expected rate cut. Rajan responded in his customary wittiness: “I don’t know what you want to call me... Santa Claus... you want to call me hawk, I don’t know. I don’t go by this. My name is Raghuram Rajan and I do what I do,” he said.

In his three-year tenure between September 4, 2013 and 2016, Rajan carried the same attitude, often leading to his awkward contrarian takes on important government narratives of the day.

Rajan had taken over at a time when the Indian rupee had hit its lifetime low of 68.87 on August 28, 2013. Rajan’s predecessor Subbarao decided to use Rajan’s personality and international reputation to halt the rupee slide.

And on September 4 evening, as soon as he took over as the governor, Rajan announced a slew of measures to reform the ailing Indian financial system, including urgent cleaning up of bank balance sheets and introducing a special dollar deposit scheme for overseas Indians.

The rupee bounced back and ever since then, has been strong, stable, and range bound.

A press release by HarperCollins India mentions Rajan’s emotions on assuming the responsibility of RBI governorship. “The rupee stops here. Right here!” -- a play on the phrase “The buck stops here”.  

‘Rajan’s commentary and speeches in I Do What I Do convey what it was like to be at the helm of the central bank in those turbulent but exciting times,’ the publisher’s statement said.

And then the release states Rajan’s addresses on ‘key issues that are not in any banking manual but essential to growth: the need for tolerance and respect to assure India’s economic progress, for instance, or the connection between political freedom and prosperity.’

The issues have been spoken or written by Rajan during his tenure at RBI.

Image: Raghuram Rajan. Photograph: Reuters.

Anup Roy
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