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Raghuram Rajan: The Man Who Revolutionized The Indian Banking System

During his academic days, he won the Director's Gold Medal in IIT Delhi and was a Gold medalist at IIM Ahmedabad.

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Raghuram Rajan was born on 3 February 1963, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Wikimedia Commons
Raghuram Rajan was born on 3 February 1963, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Wikimedia Commons
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  • On September 5, 2013, Rajan took charge of Governor of India’s central banking institution
  • Raghuram Rajan graduated in electrical engineering from IIT Delhi
  • Under Raghuram Rajan, the RBI licensed two universal banks and approved eleven payments banks

Raghuram Rajan is one of the technically financial people to grace the Indian economy and banking sector. He came at the time when the Indian economy was in the worst crisis ever faced in last decades. Through his meticulous planning, he banked on reforming and stabilizing the financial situation in the nation. On September 5, 2013, Rajan took charge of Governor of India’s central banking institution, succeeding Duvvuri Subbarao.

Raghuram Rajan was born on 3 February 1963, in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh in a Tamil family. His father was a senior officer in the Intelligence Bureau department. He is married to Radhika, a classmate from IIM and has two children.

Also Read: Was ‘The First Women President Of India’ A Well Deserved One?

Raghuram Rajan graduated in electrical engineering from IIT Delhi and then he joined Tata Administrative Services as a management trainee. However, he soon left this to pursue a doctoral program in management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. After that, he acquired a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from IIM, Ahmedabad in 1987 and later Raghuram Rajan did his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Raghuram Rajan was appointed as the Vice-Chairman of Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on 9th November 2015.  Wikimedia Commons
Raghuram Rajan was appointed as the Vice-Chairman of Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on 9th November 2015. Wikimedia Commons

During his academic days, he won the Director’s Gold Medal in IIT Delhi and was a Gold medalist at IIM Ahmedabad. Even after being so bright, he admitted of having poor command over the Hindi language.

Take a look at some of the aspects related to the life of one of the genius economist of India: 

  1. After Raghuram Rajan joined as the Governor of the RBI, the rupee rose 2.1 percent against the US dollar. Before that, the rupee had weakened sharply against the dollar, hitting almost Rs 69 to a single dollar.
  2. To bring down the inflation, the RBI under Rajan adopted the Consumer Price Index (CPI) despite the Central Government’s disapproval. Consequently, the CPI dropped from 9.52 percent in August 2013 to 5.24percent in April 2016, accompanied by the required drop in global commodity prices.
  3. Under Raghuram Rajan, the RBI licensed two universal banks and approved eleven payments banks. It was done to extend the country’s banking services to the two-thirds of the population, who were until then still deprived of basic banking facilities.
  4. Raghuram Rajan has the privilege to be appointed as the youngest-ever Economic Counselor and Director of Research (chief economist) at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from October 2003 to December 2006.
  5. During his stay at IIT Delhi, Raghuram Rajan was the head of the student’s council.
  6. Raghuram Rajan was ranked by his fellow mates as the economist with ‘the most important ideas for a post-crisis world’ in a 2011 poll in The Economist.
  7. Raghuram Rajan has the distinction of being featured on Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list in 2010 and 2012.
  8. Raghuram Rajan has also served as a professor in the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in the economics faculty. Before leaving the position due to public service commitments, he was awarded the accolade in 2007 which he held till 2013.
  9. Raghuram Rajan was appointed as the Vice-Chairman of Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on 9th November 2015. The bank was established as an international company by shares of the central banks of different countries. The bank provides banking facilities to the central bank and is also regarded as the key bank of the central banks.
  10. Raghuram Rajan authored a very popular book, ‘Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy,’ was awarded the Best Business Book of the Year in 2010 by Financial Times-Goldman Sachs. This book argued that serious flaws in the economy are to blame for the current economic crisis.

    After Raghuram Rajan joined as the Governor of the RBI, the rupee rose 2.1 percent against the US dollar. Wikimedia Commons
    After Raghuram Rajan joined as the Governor of the RBI, the rupee rose 2.1 percent against the US dollar. Wikimedia Commons
  11. Raghuram Rajan was awarded the inaugural Fischer Black Prize by the American Finance Association in January 2003. The award is given to the financial economist under the age of 40 who has made the significant contribution to the sector and is given in every two years.
  12. In 2005, Raghuram Rajan presented a theory outlining the looming financial dangers and risks associated with the current system and he got a very negative response for it. But when an actual global economic crisis occurred in 2008, his analytical skills came true.
  13. During Raghuram Rajan’s term as the RBI(Reserve Bank of India) governor, the RBI sold the longest ever government bonds with a 40-year maturity.
  14. In September 2003, Raghuram Rajan became the youngest ever to be appointed as the Economic Counselor and Director of Research (Chief Economist) of the International Monetary Fund.
  15. Raghuram Rajan has served at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business as the Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor.
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Fall Of The Currency And Increase In Oil Prices: India ‘s Turmoil

The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars.

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Rajesh Kumar, left, shares a ride to work with another employee, Dilip Swain, right, as higher petrol prices in India begin to be felt in people's pocketbooks.VOA

The fall of the currency of India to record lows and rising global oil prices have raised worries that the world’s fastest growing economy faces headwinds that could hurt the fortunes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in next year’s general elections.

From people filling fuel at gas stations to thousands of students heading out to study overseas, the impact of the slumping rupee is sparking discontent.

Having plunged by about 12 percent against the dollar this year, the rupee is one of Asia’s worst faring currencies, and as in other countries, the slide has accelerated since the crash of the Turkish lira.

“The reasons are global. We must bear in mind that in last few months, dollar has strengthened against almost every currency,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently as he tried to send out reassuring signals that India’s economy is on track.

India
The rupee has plunged by about 12 percent this year raising fears of spiraling inflation. VOA

The rupee’s sharp depreciation comes at a time when the economy had recovered from a slowdown and surged to a two-year high in the quarter that ended in June. Forecasts put growth for this year at 7.5 percent.

Economy will slow

But economists warn this momentum will be difficult to sustain as the tumbling rupee, along with rising crude oil prices, takes a toll on growth. India, the world’s third largest oil importer, gets almost 80 percent of its fuel needs overseas.

“The government needs to mellow down on growth aspirations,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy, economist with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. “The growth needs to come down to a little less than 7 percent.”

Even as the government faces the prospect of a slowing economy, it is under pressure to lower taxes on gas and diesel to bring down the sharp rise in prices. Fuel is one of the most heavily taxed items in India, with rates as high as nearly 50 percent. Prices vary from state to state, but they have gone up by about 14 percent this year.

Hoping to cash in on the growing disaffection over the surge in fuel prices and the sliding rupee, opposition parties led nationwide protests that shutdown offices and schools in several cities this week.

India
Discontent with spiraling fuel prices poses a challenge to Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of general elections next year. VOA

The government dismissed the protests, saying that although people faced momentary difficulties, they understood they were because of factors beyond its control.

Political analysts are not so sure, pointing out that fuel prices are a politically sensitive issue in India and usually result in a spike in inflation.

“Anger is rising, there is resentment,” said Satish Misra at the Observer Research Foundation, warning the ruling party will face a backlash “Obviously that is going to have a negative impact on the electoral fortunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party, there is no doubt about that.”

Warnings from economists

Among those who are upset with the high fuel prices is Rajesh Kumar, who commutes 30 kilometers to the advertising agency where he works. Hit by the higher prices that eat into his income, he has started sharing the ride with another employee.

India
Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

“I have given up the idea of buying another car,” he said despondently. “I will not be able to afford the cost of running it.”

Economists however have warned the government against giving in to populist pressures ahead of a series of state polls later this year and general elections around April next year. They say lowering taxes on fuel or taking measures to prop up the currency will strain the country’s finances and hurt the economy in the long run.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“One needs to be more careful and vigilant,” Bhanumurthy said. “It is easy for India to stay with low growth than experiencing the high deficit.”

But there is also some good news for the Indian economy. The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars. (VOA)