Even as some former bureaucrats face CBI heat, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan today called upon the youth to join public service so that they can leave an imprint on the society at large.
Addressing the students of the RBI-run Indira Gandhi Institute for Economic Research (IGIDR) on their convocation day here, Rajan admitted that in the current environment, "it is tough to be an honest public servant."
"The CBI comes after you. You are an honest guy and you don't get credit...Of course, its hard being honest and many people would get influenced by the environment around them.
But when you do public service, there is a hope that you can leave some imprint," Rajan told the IGIDR students as their chancellor.
It can be noted that CBI has filed a preliminary inquiry against former Sebi chairman C B Bhave, considered by many ministers and industry leaders as one of the most upright civil servants, alleging criminal conspiracy in granting licence to Jignesh Shah promoted MCX-SX stock exchange.
The CBI action has been criticised by many, including Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh,apart from noted banker Deepak Parekh among others.
"I am not saying private service does not leave an imprint. But sometimes it is easier in public service to make the difference, partly because you may be an entrepreneur of ideas and if you can make those ideas take, you will have influence," he added.
It can be recalled that in his first interview after being appointed the Governor last September, Rajan had told the Caravan magazine when asked why did he leave his cushy academic life in the US, "I don't want to make it sound as grandiose as giving back..."
"If I woke up at age 65 and saw either a very successful country or a very unsuccessful country, either way I'd have tremendous regret in not having played a part, either for the good or preventing the bad," he had told the magazine.
According to him, it is wrong to think about public sector as only from what it rewards one or with a 'what's in it for me' attitude.
"The right way to think about is that there is a lot for you and its not about today, its about eternity...its about your legacy and to some extent the more good you can do in shaping people and in making life better and public sector jobs have that capacity.
"The more the world be better off, the more you will feel that you have made a difference and that is a good feeling to have. I won't look at purely a trade off or sacrifice. I would see it as perhaps a way of fulfilling your self," Rajan concluded.
Noting that youth favour private jobs over public service for its charm and pelf, he said this is mistaken view.
"It is a mistaken reasoning to think that public service is a sacrifice...it's like you giving up the private sector benefits to go and do public service. I think in many ways what you to think about is that there is a private aspect of your life...your enjoyment, your success, your failure and your private welfare functions.
"But there is also your soul. In some sense your soul is what you leave behind. How the shape, the pattern, the imprint your life had on the rest of the world. And when you do public service there is hope that you can leave some imprint," Rajan argued striking a spiritual chord.