I Do What I Do
When Raghuram G. Rajan took charge as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in September 2013, the rupee was in free fall, inflation was high, India had a large current account deficit and India's exchange reserves were falling. As measure after measure failed to stabilize markets, speculators sensed a full-blown crisis and labelled India one of the Fragile Five economies. Rajan's response was to go all out, not just to tackle the crisis of confidence, but also to send a strong message about the strength of India's institutions and the country's ongoing programme of reform. He outlined a vision that went beyond the immediate crisis to focus on long-term growth and stability, thus restoring investor confidence. Boldness and farsightedness would be characteristic of the decisions he took in the ensuing three years. Rajan's commentary and speeches in I Do What I Do convey what it was like to be at the helm of the central bank in those turbulent but exciting times. Whether on dosanomics or on debt relief, Rajan explains economic concepts in a readily accessible way. Equally, he addresses key issues that are not in any banking manual but essential to growth: the need for tolerance and respect to assure India's economic progress, for instance, or the connection between political freedom and prosperity. I Do What I Do offers a front-row view into the thinking of one of the world's most respected economists, one whose commitment to India's progress shines through in the essays and speeches here. It also brings home what every RBI Governor discovers for himself when he sits down at his desk on the 18th floor: the rupee stops here. Right here!
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I do what I Do is a non fiction book authored by economist and former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan published by Harper Collins India in 2017. Raghuram Rajan’s book I Do What I Do is a collection of talks, lectures and papers, some of which have been in the public domain for a while. Between these articles, the former governor of the Reserve Bank of India covers much territory. Divided into three sections wherein first section deals with RBI days and dividing the section in to 9 chapters dealing different aspects including making banking sector more competitive, broadening and deepening markets, financial inclusion, Resolution of distress, major economic issues, international issues and RBI matters, second section is about global financial crisis which Rajan is credited to predict with accuracy much prior to actual crisis and then his occasional papers in given the third section.
Rajan writes with great clarity and has a nice style. My estimation, for what it’s worth, of this readable book is that it is strong on the finance . Rajan recounts his actions as governor and assesses their impact, mostly dispassionately except in the case of inflation control where he simply assumes that the outcome reflects the RBI’s prowess. If you want to know how RBI really works and how our monetory policies are set and where our current economy stands this book gives a good picture about the same.
Raghuram Rajan writes the book the way objective people and especially those outside of India know him to be - Scholarly, sophisticated and passionate to his beliefs. The book explains the workings of RBI both from the exalted status of Governor and the ramifications to the ordinary citizen.
One of the most controversial issues affecting the RBI was the demonetization. Though he hasn’t discussed much of this in his book, he did accept that RBI was just a passive partner. “At no point during my term was the RBI asked to decide on demonetization,” Rajan writes. He expressed his reservations against it, saying short-term economic costs would outweigh long-term benefits and there were “better alternatives to achieve the main goals”.
This book is a good read to understand the dynamics involved at the central bank, the role of different committees, reports and the collective work between government, the central bank, markets and Banks. To quote Rajan, “The governorship of the central bank is not meant to win one votes or Facebook “likes”. But I hope to do the right thing, no matter what the criticism, even while looking to learn from the criticism.”
This book is a must read not only to economists and people having interest in economic matters but for everyone in the country whosoever has some little interest in how Indian economy works.