Raghuram Rajan defends his comments on religious intolerance


Days before leaving RBI, outgoing Governor Raghuram Rajan today said he was willing to stay a bit longer but could not reach the “right kind of agreement” with the government on extension of his tenure.

“Because of … unfinished task, I was willing perhaps to stay provided we could reach the right kind of agreement, we didn’t. That’s where it ended”, said Rajan, whose outspoken views on various issues were often seen as being against the views of the government on economic and even non-economic matters. His three-year term comes would end on September 4.


In an interview to noted journalist Karan Thapar on India Today channel, Rajan defended his controversial speech on perceived growing intolerance in the country, which had riled the government.

Rejecting criticism of having spoken ‘out of turn’ on various occasions, Rajan said it was “legitimate duty” and “moral responsibility” of public figures to tell young minds what good citizenship is about.

The former IMF chief economist said he wanted a second term at the central bank to complete the unfinished task “but just didn’t reach an agreement” with the government on that.

“There were variety of places where differences may have been in terms of horizons and this and that. I think We just didn’t reach an agreement where… remember my term came to an end, so it had to be a new term,” he told Karan Thapar on India Today news channel.

Rajan was asked if he wanted a second term and what kind of consultations he had with the government on further tenure.

“We started the dialogue and we were going along that path but essentially we agreed at some point that it did not make sense to pursue the dialogue further,” he said.

Rajan said he was engaged in a dialogue with the government “whether it made sense for me to continue.”

“When I got into this job, I saw this as a three-year term. I also realised or recognised I needed to go back to academia. Too many years away from academia renders you pretty incompetent at research and teaching. So I had to go back.

Question was how much time,” he said.

Asked if he was disappointed, Rajan said, “In terms of unfinished tasks, it is always good to finish and look back and say I have sealed and signed it.”

“Everything comes to an end at some point and you have to move on. Right now my focus is let us look ahead and see whats need to be done and not look back,” he said.

Rajan will leaving Reserve Bank on completion of his three-year term as RBI Governor on September 4 and return to academia. Several Governors before Rajan including C Rangarajan, Y V Reddy, Bimal Jalan and D Subbarao got five-year term. .