Thursday, September 5, 2013

Arjun AND Abhimanyu

Follow Arjuna, not Abhimanyu: D Subbarao to Raghuram Rajan

MUMBAI: The outgoing governor of the Reserve Bank of India, D Subbarao, has advised his successor to emulate Arjuna and get the economy out of the Chakravyuh, or maze. Subbarao has often compared his situation to that of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna who was caught in the Chakravyuh during the war with the Kauravas and perished as a result.

The outgoing governor, who handed over charge to Rajan on Wednesday, said he would have liked to hand over a stable economy "but I hope you will tell your successor that I am handing over a miracle economy". Subbarao, who took charge at RBI in 2008 just a few days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off the global financial crisis, said he made transition from finance ministry to RBI within 24 hours and to say that he was bewildered was an under-statement. He was haunted by fear of failure during those firefighting days rather than visions of success.

In his farewell speech at the RBI, Subbarao said he has drawn up a list of things he would like to do after demitting office, which includes learning the Salsa dance. He also said he would want to learn mathematics and languages, while adding he would like to "study the science of language and language of science."

Subbarao said he would also be conducting tutorial class on taking 'baby steps' alluding to his much criticised gradual approach to raising interest rates, which came under fire. Now that he has stepped down, Subbarao, who plans to settle down in Hyderabad, says he would try and reconnect with his mother-in-law, who is 94, based in Bangalore and who had stopped talking to him within six months of taking charge at RBI because of soaring prices.

He also listed the things he would miss after leaving the office of the governor of India's central bank. "I will miss the hustle and bustle of RBI, miss being important, miss being mollycoddled," he said. But that would be compensated by the things he would enjoy now that a huge weight is off his shoulder. "I will not have to say something profound every time I open my mouth."

Elaborating on that, Subbarao said that one of the difficulties of heading the central bank was that even when while attending a marriage at four in the morning, and struggling to keep awake, someone would come up and seek his opinion on the state of the world economy.

No comments: