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Voice of business

books Updated: Jul 22, 2011 23:07 IST
Dipankar Bhattacharyya
Dipankar Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Growth & Finance
Edited by Sameer Kochhar
Academic Foundation with Skoch Consultancy Services
Rs 1,095
pp 351

Very few people have seen economic crises from so close, or helped steer a nation out of them, than C Rangarajan, central banker, fiscal reformer and enduring guru to policy-making in India. Thanks to his efforts, the government has stopped printing money to buy itself out of trouble, the states are not bankrupt, money flows from those who save to those who invest and the world sees India as a place to do business.

Home minister P Chidambaram puts this accomplishment in perspective when he says in the preface to Growth & Finance that he has never heard Rangarajan raise his voice or overrule anyone. “At the end of every assignment, when I thought so, a new opportunity opened up. Every new assignment required the use of an analytical mind,” says the son of a judge who wanted to be a teacher.

The festschrift contains essays by some very distinguished economists on the evolving nature of banking and exchange rate policy, management of sovereign risk and the ability to withstand external shocks, financial inclusion as key to inclusive growth, catalysing infrastructure development, and containing hunger. Rangarajan has left his signature application of academic insights in each of these areas of public policy. His views on food entitlements run contrary to the political establishment, but it would do well to heed them.