Ex­ces­sive cen­tral­i­sa­tion of power a prob­lem, says ex-RBI gover­nor

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

Wash­ing­ton: Ex­ces­sive cen­tral­i­sa­tion of power in the po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion-mak­ing is one of In­dia’s main prob­lems, for­mer RBI gover­nor Raghu­ram Ra­jan has said, as he high­lighted the re­cent un­veil­ing of the ‘Statue of Unity’ as an ex­am­ple of the project that re­quired the ap­proval of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice.

Ra­jan made the re­marks while speak­ing at Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia. Berkley, on Fri­day. “In­dia can’t work from the Cen­ter. In­dia works when you have many peo­ple tak­ing up the bur­den. And to­day the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is ex­ces­sively cen­tralised,” he said. In ad­di­tion to cen­tral­i­sa­tion, the un­will­ing­ness of the bu­reau­cracy to take ini­tia­tive, is an­other prob­lem, he said.

Ra­jan said ever since the cor­rup­tion scan­dals hit In­dia, the bu­reau­cracy had stepped back. On the 143rd birth an­niver­sary of Sar- dar Val­lab­hb­hai Pa­tel, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi un­veiled the ‘Statue of Unity’ in Gu­jarat’s Nar­mada district on Oc­to­ber 31.

Touted to be the tallest statue in the world, the 182-me­tre tall statue was built at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore. The con­crete and brass-clad statue is the quick­est to be com­pleted in 33 months. Part of the prob­lem in In­dia is that there is an ex­ces­sive cen­tral­i­sa­tion of power in the po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion mak­ing, Ra­jan, said.

Ra­jan said an ex­am­ple of this was the quan­tum of de­ci­sions that re­quired the as­sent of PM’s Of­fice.

No­body wants to take a de­ci­sion, un­less it has ap­proval up there, which means even if the PM works 18 hours a day, a very hard-work­ing prime min­is­ter, there is only so much time he has, Ra­jan said.

The kind of project that gets done de­pends on the PM, he said. “For ex­am­ple, we build this mas­sive statue, the Sar­dar Pa­tel statue on time,” Ra­jan said. “That sug­gests that when there is a will there is a way. Can we find that will for ev­ery­thing else?” he asked.

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