The Story of the Reserve Bank of India by Rahul Bajoria: Review

Title: The Story of the Reserve Bank of India

Author: Rahul Bajoria

Publisher: Rupa

Price: Rs. 695/-

Pages: XIV + 281

Timing of the book is perfect, so is the content. The ideal title of the book should have been ‘Relationship of Government of India and Reserve Bank of India’ or something on similar lines. The book is focused on the Reserve Bank’s interaction and relationship with the government of the day, since its inception. Facts like Reserve Bank of India (RBI) used to maintain currency for different countries has been dismissed in few lines. The book has captured one part of the story of RBI, the most important and significant part but still, it is part only.

After reading the book one will realise that the current government has been unfairly blamed for interfering in the working of central bank and the difference between the two have been unfairly blown out of proportion. The differences that RBI is fighting with the current government have been fought in the past and government has been the winner always.
The first governor of RBI had to go because of the difference with the government. But nothing has happened like the following: “Issues cropped up between Governor Rama Rau and Finance Minister T TKrishnamachari, which resulted in the corridors of the secretariat, which resulted in a public altercation between the two in the corridors of the Secretariat building’s North Block in Delhi, culminating in the former’s resignation in 1957.”
Governors have been sacked, asked to resign and in some cases their subordinates have been punished if not the governor directly for their difference with the government. Governments have played havoc with the policies and many political parties have always kept their politics above the fiscal health of the country.

This book covers the period till demonetisation from the inception of RBI, and yes demonetisation has happened before. The book has covered almost every important issue that RBI has tackled and author has presented the issues in totality along with all necessary background and other related information.

The two major misses in the book are a chronology of tenure of Governors and a glossary, explaining different terms used in the banking. Everyone who is interested in the history of Central Bank may not understand Repo rate. A timeline of RBI would have added immense value to the book. Also, a comparison of Reserve Bank of India with the central banks of other nations would have been of great help.

The last chapter, ‘Looking Forward’, is interesting. Anyone who is interested in the formation, operations and growth of RBI will find the book useful. The transformation of a regular bank into a central bank, and then its evolution in the present format is exciting and has been presented well. The pulls and pushes, the turbulence external and internal, that RBI faces day in and day out is normally hidden from the common and hence RBI’s role in the nation’s health economy is not truly appreciated. This book will help the common man, understand and appreciate the role of Reserve Bank of India in true sense.

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