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Raghuram Rajan isn’t coming back to India to fill AAP’s Rajya Sabha seat

Quartz india
Quartz india

India may want its former “rockstar central banker” Raghuram Rajan back, but the man himself isn’t interested.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party of Delhi, had sought to nominate the former governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a seat in the parliament. AAP is said to be looking to field professional, non-party members for its three Rajya Sabha seats.

However, it appears that the Arvind Kejriwal-led party will have to look for another candidate.

“Professor Rajan has no plans to leave his full-time academic job at the University of Chicago,” Sandra Jones, associate director, communications department, at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, told Quartz in an email. Rajan is a professor of finance at the Booth School.

In his three-year stint as the top boss of the RBI, which ended in September 2016, Rajan ended up ruffling a few feathers. The straight-talking central banker didn’t mince his words, calling out crony capitalists, bankers, and the government.

During his term, Rajan focused on cleaning up the bad loans that have clogged India’s banking sector. He cracked the whip on bankers, prodding them to recognise and provide for these toxic assets. Under his reign, licences were given to 23 new banks as the RBI sought to improve financial inclusion. Another achievement was the successful taming of inflation, which he managed to bring down from the double digits to around 5.7% in May 2016. However, his outspoken stance led to friction with the Narendra Modi-led government, and Rajan did not end up getting an extension as the RBI chief.

But he did leave the Indian public with this famous one-liner: “My name is Raghuram Rajan and I do what I do.”

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