Raghuram Rajan was open to extension
Terming political attacks on him as abominable, outgoing RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Wednesday said he was open to staying a bit longer to complete the unfinished work of bank clean up, but is perfectly happy to go.
Rajan, who had in June decided against seeking a second term after 3-year tenure which ends next month, said the process of dialogue with the government did not reach a stage where he could have agreed to stay on.
He said however that he was never worried about reappointment or a future career in government and did the best in the interest of the country and he was the “best team player”.
Rajan, who plans to return to academia after his term ends on September 4, said his stays at university made him “pretty thick skinned”, but the attacks then were not abominable.
“Some of these (recent) attacks were abominable, that is imputing sort of motives, alleging things completely without any basis,” he told CNBC-TV18, adding that he put them aside and did not pay any attention to them.
Towards the end of his three-year tenure, Rajan faced personal attacks from BJP MP Subramanian Swamy who had alleged that the former IMF chief economist was “mentally not fully Indian” and sent confidential and sensitive financial information abroad.
Rajan said when people asked him if he was open to the second term, he said that although he had structured all his initiatives at RBI with a three-year horizon, there was some unfinished work like PSU banks’ balance sheet clean-up and setting up of monetary policy committee framework.
“That does not mean in any way, that I was absolutely hell bent on having a second term,” he said. “I was open for staying a little while longer to see them complete, but at the same time I was perfectly happy to go.”
Rajan said 90-95 per cent of the job that he had taken on was complete and he had absolute freedom in doing his work. On his future plans, he said: “I have said again and again, I am fundamentally a academician. This (RBI Governor) is my side job”.
Asked if crony capitalists had a hand in his not getting an extension, Rajan said: “I don’t think you should attribute this to some hidden hand. I feel, I have done what was needed to be done, if they had such power they would have stopped me (from doing) what was needed.”
Stressing that he had absolute freedom in doing, whatever he wanted to do, Rajan said this required lots of work behind the scenes, with government and persuading government.
“So when people say you have been fighting all the time, absolutely not. Great relationship with previous government as well people who matter in this government...,” he said.