Finance, NTR and more

yveddy-04 Former RBI Governer Y.V. Reddy | Amey Mansabdar

The Reserve Bank of India and the finance ministry were for a long time of interest to very few people. But in less than three years now, three books have been published on the RBI. Who moved my interest rate? by former RBI governor D. Subbarao, then Dialogue of the Deaf – the government and the RBI by T.C.A. Srinivasa Raghavan, a journalist who landed tremendous access to the archives of the central bank, and now Advice and Dissent: My life in Public Service by Y.V. Reddy, also a former governor of the RBI.

Reddy has played an important role in India's financial policy making, both within the country and globally. His easy recall and simple narration of how the discourse went at every stage where he advised or he dissented, reveal a lot about the government of the day, the decision-makers, and, of course, himself.

Reddy's encounters with former finance minister P. Chidambaram have made news, appearing as a significant part of reviews and excerpts across media.

But an interesting part of the book are the pages where he comes face to face, as a planning secretary, several times, with a “wildly popular, top-rated movie star, known for his roles as Krishna and Rama”.

And telling too, proving that nothing has changed in politics between when N.T. Rama Rao was chief minister in 1983, and now; in terms of perception and possibly reality.

NTR asks Reddy, “Am I not a great man?”. And goes on to answer his own question. He was a successful actor, a hero who earned crores of rupees, sacrificed everything to join public life and serve people.

Reddy suggests that people sacrificed much during the freedom struggle, too!

NTR replies that he had started a party on his own and captured power in a year. Then NTR mentioned how the Centre had been trying to destroy him, using the income tax department, influencing courts, slapping false cases. The late chief minister then described how the Union government used Ram Lal, then governor of Andhra Pradesh, to encourage his legislators to defect, and then sacked his government.

NTR returned from a triple bypass surgery in the US, and, in a wheel chair, travelled to Delhi and paraded his legislators before then President Giani Zail Singh. A month after his dismissal, NTR was back on the chief minister's chair.

“Perhaps you are indeed a great man”, was what Reddy told Rao.

Many such anecdotal paragraphs have been woven together into readable chapters that lighten an otherwise heavy subject.

Advice and Dissent: My Life in Public Service
By Y.V. Reddy
Harper Business, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Price Rs 799
Pages 480

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