PUNE: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan on Wednesday warned India not be ‘euphoric’ about the fastest growing economy tag, and said that this performance should be repeated for the next 20 years to ensure a decent living for every Indian.
“We are often compared with China. The Chinese economy, which was smaller than us in 1960s, is now five times our size at market exchange rates. The average Chinese citizen is four times richer than the average Indian,” Rajan said at the 12th convocation address at the National Institute of Bank Management.
“As a central banker who has to be pragmatic, I cannot get euphoric if India is the fastest growing large economy. Our current growth certainly reflects the hard work of the government and the people of the country. But we have to repeat this performance for the next 20 years before we can give every Indian a decent livelihood,” he added.
Seeking to explain his "one-eyed king" comments, he said that his comment was taken out of context.
"When I used the popular phrase ‘Andhon main Kana Raja’ (one-eyed man is the king in the land of the blind) in my interview, my intent was to signal that our outperformance was accentuated because world growth was weak,’ he said.
“Every word or phrase that a public figure speaks is intensely wrung out of meaning. When words are hung out to dry out of context as in the newspaper headline, it only becomes a fair game for anyone who wants to fill in, meaning to create mischief. If, we are to have a reasonable public dialogue, we should read words in their context, not stripped of it,” he added.
He, however, issued an apology, saying, “I do want to apologise to a section of the nation that I did hurt with these words that the visually impaired or blind.”
With India being often described as 'the bright spot in the global economy', Rajan sees this as a case of "the one-eyed man" being king in the land of the blind.
When asked for his take on the 'bright spot' theory and what was his 'secret sauce' to ensure this positioning, the RBI Governor had said, “I think we have still to get to a place where we feel satisfied. We have this saying, 'In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king'. We are a little bit that way.”