Outgoing RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan today strongly defended his controversial public speeches as “perfectly legitimate” ones within the remit of a central bank head and asserted that he was never critical of the government in any instance.
“These are perfectly legitimate speeches. You can interpret them any which ways you want,” Rajan said at an interaction with select news agencies here this evening.
“In none of those speeches that I have made has there been an explicit criticism or an implicit criticism of the government. There are people who read the interpretation of what is the speech I have given,” he added.
After his decision to return back 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.
The academic-turned-central banker spoke a lot across the country and abroad in the three years at helm, and had a special liking for educational institutes.
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, who refused to accept a second term at helm of the Reserve Bank, today sought to defend his stance in all these instances and stressed that he was within his remit as the central bank governor while making those remarks.
“Some of those speeches have been on economic issues but outside the monetary policy. But those economic issues are perfectly within the remit of the central bank because ultimately we have a remit of macrostability,” he said.
Rajan also said his concerns on the Make in India campaign — wherein he had pitched for ‘make for India’ given the fragile economic conditions the world-over — have come true.
“There was lots of criticism like you are being defeatist etc. Passage of time suggests that advice to look internally for demand at least for the short to medium term even while strengthening our manufacturing and service sector productive capabilities, which I thought was the central point of making in India, was extremely important,” Rajan, who will go back to the Chicago University, said