Saturday, October 31, 2015
RBI Chief Rajan "Calls for Tolerance"
Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan is being quoted through his comments to the media as "calling for tolerance":
It seems to me that Rajan was specifically appointed to manage monetary policy for the country, and was not appointed to make politically partisan statements, especially when certain political parties are trying to market themselves as epitomizing "tolerance" while opportunistically branding other parties as epitomizing "intolerance". A politically partisan RBI governor has no place holding that office, and needs to be replaced if he continues to echo partisan political rhetoric.
What if US Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen started deliberately weighing in on the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, or on a Second Amendment issue like Gun Control? Given the politically partisan nature of certain debates, I think it's very dangerous for an unelected civil servant like a reserve bank chief to be casually dabbling in certain issues which are of a highly charged politically partisan nature. It shows a certain level of irresponsibility and unprofessionalism when appointed officials go beyond their brief to pitch their opinions on politically charged topics to the press. A reserve bank chief's statements are always heavily followed by the press - that's the nature of that job - to the point where analysts will literally try to parse meaning out of every word and utterance. A reserve bank chief is appointed to manage monetary policy, and not to opportunistically use their appointed position as a podium or platform for their own personal views on other policies which are beyond the jurisdiction or scope of their appointment.
It may be recalled that there was the case of a US army general in Afghanistan who publicly questioned President Obama's wisdom on a certain policy, and he was immediately called in by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who appropriately told him to tender his resignation. Whether it's a general appointed to manage a war, or a reserve bank chief appointed to manage a monetary situation, the appointee needs to respect the chain of command and the fact that he is not an elected public representative, unlike those who appointed him. When appointees begin making politically partisan comments, they should be reminded that they were not appointed to exercise their own personal freedom of speech - if they want to exercise their personal freedom of speech, then they can step down from their position and do this outside of public office, on their own time.
We already have a rogue judiciary showing open contempt for parliament. We don't need an unelected appointee to a non-constitutional post like an RBI chief giving lecturing sermons on politically partisan issues. Furthermore, we have a key election going on in Bihar right now, that could be pivotal in influencing the course of the country's policy for the near to medium term. Should Raghuram Rajan really be looking to make statements which could be used to influence the outcome of that election? Is that really appropriate for a person in his role position? Even if the Modi govt doesn't take him to task for his statements - just as it hasn't taken the Supreme Court to task for its recent decision against the amendment passed by parliament - then at least the BJP's various allies in the media must be vocal in taking Rajan to task for his conspicuously-timed remarks, and in demanding clarification from him.
Where was Raghuram Rajan in 1984, when the Left-wing Congress partymen led pogroms that saw over 10,000 Sikhs massacred across India (3000 in Delhi alone)? Where were the press conferences and award-returners, and the Moody's analysts then? It's only when the 70-year-old entrenched Congress kleptocracy starts screaming "fascism" that all the Quixotes suddenly come running to aim their lances at the "Hindoo fascists".