Ending all speculations, Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan has himself announced that he would quit after his three-year terms end on September 4 and return to academia.
The 53-year-old economist – who throughout his three-year term as the RBI boss remained vocal with his remarks on the state of the economy, politics, communal harmony and governance – is the first RBI governor since 1992 not to seek a second term.
He made the announcement with the same dignity and poise with which tackled newly nominated BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramaniam Swamy’s tirades questioning his integrity and “Indian-ness”.
After Rajan announced his impending exit, however, several tweets slammed Swamy.
One said: “I don’t have any idea if Raghuram Rajan was any good, but if Swamy hated him he must have done something right?”
Here are 10 things you would like to know about the economist:
1. Hailing from a Tamil family, Raghuram Rajan was born in Bhopal on February 3, 1963.
His father R. Govindarajan was an Indian Police Service officer who had topped his batch in 1953 and served mostly in Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
2. Dr. Rajan studied in Delhi Public School in New Delhi’s R.K.Puram from 1974 to 1981 and then got admission in IIT Delhi to study electrical engineering.
When he graduated in 1985, he was adjudged the best all round student. Two years later, he did his post-graduate diploma in business administration from the IIM, Ahmedabad.
He joined the Tata Administrative Services as a trainee but left midway to pursue a doctoral programme in management at MIT Sloan School of Management in the US and received his PhD in 1991 for his thesis, Essays on Banking.
3. The same year he joined as a faculty of the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He later became a professor of finance with his focus areas being banking, corporate finance, and economic development.
4. In October 2003 Rajan was appointed the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, the youngest to hold the post. He retained the post for three years till December 2006.
5. In November 2008, former prime minister Manmohan Singh appointed Rajan as an economic advisor to the central government.
Four years later, he was appointed as chief economic advisor to the Union Finance Ministry.
6. On September 5, 2013, Rajan succeeded D. Subbarao as the 23rd RBI governor.
After taking over he said he would initiate steps for drastic banking reforms and bring down inflation.
And indeed, he was praised for lowering inflation and cleaning up the huge bad loans of nationalized banks.
Following Swamy’s recent campaign against Rajan, fellow Chicago economist Luigi Zingales came to his rescue by saying, in a signed article, that the RBI governor was being targeted for taking on the crony capitalists and fighting inefficient banking system in India.
7. Rajan has to his credits several articles and papers on finance and economy published in several international journals.
In 2003, Rajan co-authored a book, Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists, with Zingales.
He wrote another book in 2010, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, that bagged the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.
8. He has won several awards for his contribution to finance and economy.
In 2003, he received the inaugural Fischer Black Prize, an award instituted by American Finance Association for an economist aged below 40 for his contribution to the theory and practice of finance.
A year later, NASSCOM named him Global Indian at its 7th Globe Leadership Awards. He received the Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics in 2013 while Euromoney magazine adjudged him the Best Central Bank Governor in 2014.
9. The RBI governor is married to Radhika Puri Rajan, who teaches at the Law School and Booth Business School at the University of Chicago. They have a daughter and a son.
10. A vegetarian, Rajan loves to read literary works of Leo Tolstoy, J.R.R. Tolkien and Indian novelist Upamanyu Chatterjee. He enjoys playing tennis and squash and participated in some marathons.