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Not naming an Indian for IMF top job part of govt strategy

business Updated: May 22, 2011 23:20 IST
Gautam Chikermane

As the nomination process for the new managing director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) gets underway, India is keeping its cards close to its chest.

“We are watching and analysing these events and will come out with our decision very soon,” a senior official told Hindustan Times. “No point putting in names when we don’t know who is in the field. Not coming out with a name is part of a deliberate strategy.”

Lobbying for the top post of the world’s top financial institutions began the on the day the disgraced Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned to fight sexual assault charges.

A generous tax-free package of $521,100 (Kahn leaves with a $250,000 severance package) is only one part of the deal. The job comes with the power to move global financial events at a time when the world is still recovering from its worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression.

The question all countries in general and emerging nations in particular are asking is: where’s the merit? “We are in favour of a merit-based system,” the official said. “But finally, it will be a political call, as the shareholders of IMF are governments.”

Following the intellectual direction provided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — the only economist leader in the group — in the G20 negotiations that began in November 2008 in Washington, India’s voice has been heard in the revival of the global economy.

“We don’t need the money,” the official said, “but it would be an honour to have an Indian head the institution.”