Reserve Bank’s outgoing Governor Raghuram Rajan, whose outspoken views have often been seen as being critical of the government, feels whatever he will say on Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be “problematic”.
Rajan, whose tenure at RBI has been marked with several controversies triggered by his comments on issues ranging from tolerance debate to the government’s flagship programme ‘Make in India’, was asked to describe Modi in a televised rapid-fire like interview with BBC.
“I think I will pass on that question. Whatever answer I give will be problematic, so I will just pass,” said the on-leave professor of finance at Chicago University, who will return to academia after end of his three-year term at RBI on September 4.
After his decision to return to academia, there have been voices suggesting that his candid public speeches were one of the aspects which made the government uncomfortable about reappointing Rajan for another term.
Some of the controversial speeches made by him include the one where he quoted American political philosopher Francis Fukuyama to question whether strong governments can really help a country or in defence of tolerance in the middle of a debate started by the killing of a Muslim man over suspicion of storing beef, or questioning the premise of the high-octane ‘Make in India’ campaign.
Rajan, a former IMF Chief Economist, also ruled out joining politics. “I think that is one place where my wife overrides everything and her answer is ‘no’,” he said on joining politics.
Asked how he feels about being on the list of India’s ‘most desirable men’, the 53-year-old Governor quipped: “I wish they had done it when I was 25.”
Rajan described himself as a “boring guy” and said he being described as ‘Rockstar Banker’ is an “overblown” statement.
In an earlier TV interview, Rajan had said he was open to staying a bit longer at RBI to complete the unfinished work of bank clean-up, but was perfectly happy to go.