iconimg Thursday, July 30, 2015

Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
Washington, October 11, 2013
Hardly anyone in the US plays or follows cricket. But if they did, they would know why RBI governor Raghuram Rajan believes India's economy, like its cricket, needs a break from its fans.

"We Indians treat our economy very much the way we treat our cricket," Rajan said at a think tank event on Thursday, his first after taking over as RBI governor.

When the cricket team is doing well, the players can do no wrong. They are elevated to the level of God -- "disregarding the weaknesses that actually exist".

When they do badly people throw rocks at their doors and castigate them for the same weaknesses, which were overlooked earlier, and which now look serious.

The cricket analogy, with Gautam Gambhir and Virendra Sehwag thrown in as examples of suddenly flawed heroes, was too wide, but his message wasn't.

In the "go-go years, 2002 and 2012, with an average growth rate of 8% over a decade", the governor said, India was seen as the "coming superpower, with no weaknesses".

But there were serious deficiencies then such as poor infrastructure, inadequate human capital -- not counting geniuses from the IITs, and over-regulation.

They were overlooked. "India could do no wrong at that point," the governor said, adding, "Today, India can do no right." The same exaggerated, hysterical response.

"India will be back to greater growth," he said.