Instead of gigantic statues, India should build modern schools and universities: Raghuram Rajan

Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan. (Photo: Reuters)

Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has said Hindu nationalism does not just foment social tensions but also detracts India from its economic growth. Rajan said the Narendra Modi government is no exception to having a tendency “to want more power, especially given the social and political agenda it is focused on”.

Raghuram Rajan said this in an essay titled ‘How to fix the economy’ written for the India Today Magazine.

Reflecting on the socio-political agenda of the Modi government, Raghuram Rajan said, “Instead of building gigantic statues to national or religious heroes, India should build more modern schools and universities that will open its children’s minds, making them more tolerant and respectful of one another, and helping them hold their own in the competitive globalised world of tomorrow.”

Rajan writes that majoritarianism is popular the world over and India is no exception. “There is a tendency for those in power to want more control, and this government is no exception, especially given the social and political agenda it is focused on…Apart from fomenting social tension, which India can ill afford, Hindu nationalism will detract from economic growth-which will exacerbate social tension further,” Raghuram Rajan writes in the essay.

Criticising the Narendra Modi government for misusing investigating agencies, Rajan writes the government is “attempting to bulldoze its way by empowering its investigative and tax agencies”. This, Rajan writes, will “cow valuable criticism that allows it to adjust course in a timely way. Paralyse its own officials who fear similar actions by future governments and business wary about long-term investment”.

Raghuram Rajan writes professionalism means that investigating and tax agencies should not be allowed to “go on fishing expeditions” and they should be wary of appearing to criminalise all business. “They should certainly not give the impression that they are being used for political retribution.”