In the past few weeks, there had been strident voices—particularly from within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—seeking his removal. The most prominent among them was the party’s newly-anointed member of parliament in the Rajya Sabha, Subramanian Swamy.

“In my opinion, RBI governor is not appropriate for the country,” Swamy, who had repeatedly targeted Rajan lately, said last month. “He has hiked interest rates in the garb of controlling inflation that has damaged the country… (his actions) led to collapse of industry and rise of unemployment in the economy… The sooner he is sent back to Chicago, the better it would be.”

Rajan’s performance, though, has been anything but lacklustre.

Take, for instance, retail inflation. From around 9.52% in 2013, Rajan brought it down to 5.39% in April 2016. The governor also focused on cleaning up some Rs13 lakh crore worth of toxic loans from India’s bank. He’s set a March 2017 target for banks to create provisions that cover these bad loans.

Rajan also extensively worked towards financial inclusion. He gave payments bank licences to 11 companies last year. He also approved small finance bank licences, with the primary motive of reaching the unbanked population in the hinterlands.

So it wasn’t without reason that The Banker magazine named Rajan the Central Banker of the Year for 2016.

His record is also why many had called for a second term for Rajan, acknowledging his deft handling of the economy as well as his popular appeal—something that stemmed from his open and easy communication of ideas with the general public. There was even an online petition on, with nearly 60,000 backers, to retain Rajan.

In the end, however, Rajan—currently on leave from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where he’s a professor of finance—decided otherwise. This has saddened many who had come to admire the 23rd governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

“India was lucky to have had the services of an outstanding economist like Rajan as the Governor of RBI. His performance was acclaimed not just in India but throughout the world,” Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy said in a statement. “Experts in economics agree on that.”

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