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