Book Name: I do What I do
Author: Raghuram Rajan
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2017 (978-93-5277-014-4)
One of the most anticipated Economic Book of the year, especially coming from an Ex-RBI governor and one who left RBI just before the Demonetization. As the sensation loving media, repeatedly asked Mr. Rajan’s take on Demonetization and his eventual silence had lead up to anticipation that this book may hold some necessary answers.
There is a wide spread rumor in media and general public that, Raghuram Rajan was removed by the government (Which is not true!) and installed a Gujarat Cadre Civil Servant Dr. Urjit Patel, who now has turned into a puppet of The current Government (again, not true!). Surprisingly, this book holds some answers, but not exactly to the sensational questions but to those questions, which may effect the credibility of RBI.
My Initial take on the book – A Bunch of well arranged speeches, which is not much of a sensational material for media, which may disappoint it and also to the critics, who wish to blame Rajan based on the fact that he was appointed by Dr. Manmohan Government. He tries to explain the rational, the well thought mechanism behind his every decision during his tenure as the RBI Governor. He makes it clear that, all his speeches are written by himself though eventually edited to avoid any political controversies before delivering them.
He makes it very clear from the beginning that, only his speeches were ‘One Sided James-Bondish’ but not actions. They were well thought, well guided and a collective team effort. The title of his book is derived from one of his sensational answers to media or in Rajan’s words the media made them sensation, made them headlines in the next day newspapers and pushed the policy to center pages.
Right from the second page, his use of the word ‘We’ clearly states his nature and method of work. One of the most prominent of his works as RBI governor is reduction in Inflation(I guess, you all remember – Dosanomics) but he gives most of the credit to ‘Dr. Urjit Patel’ Committee(The Current RBI governor).
If this book fails to change your opinion on Mr.Rajan, it will surely change your opinion on Dr.Urjit Patel, which is definitely a favorable factor for the credibility for RBI and thus the stability of Indian Economics.
Over the end he does accept that, there was no offer from Government for extension of tenure, which is a very general and normal thing to happen and had happened many times in the past. He doesn’t rule out the possibility to return back to Indian Economics in some power in near future.
The book takes you back to year 2014, when Indian Economics and India are relatively in turbulent state. He explains various issues, his thought process and the decisions taken by use of his speeches made during those instances. A very well crafted book, in terms of speeches which are generally very boring(at-least to me!).
Rajan tries to cover various issues right from the reforms related to inflation, Banking sector, debt markets, Financial inclusion, Resolution of Distress, Advice on Macro Economics, Some broad concepts like Democracy and Rule of law, Tolerance and Respect! The book holds some messages on the event of RBI’s 80th Anniversary and India 67th Independence day celebrations.
The book carries in lot of support for current Government’s(PM Modi Government) work on financial inclusion, Make in India and also emphasizes on importance of ‘Make for India’.
On broader scale Mr. Rajan stresses on mutual trust in market, credibility and long-term plans. The narrative is quite appealing though at times it may feel that, it is fluctuating between being too simple to being too hard.(May be that depends on your understanding of the particular topic!). All-in-all a good read to understand the dynamics involved at the central bank, the role of different committees, reports and the collective work between government, Central bank, markets and Banks.
Mr. Rajan tries to keep this book out of any controversy(or, is there any?!). Tries to instill trust in RBI, it’s current governor and the government overall. He says, he may have been termed a rock-star/James Bond by Media but in no means he is one!
The book clearly establishes, If there is indeed a Rock star, it is RBI and it’s team.