‘Parachute economist’: Economist Arvind Virmani says Raghuram Rajan talking as if he’s never been to India

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Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s comment that India is making a big mistake believing the ‘hype’ around its economic growth hasn’t gone down well with several economists.  NITI Ayog member and macroeconomist Arvind Virmani said the former RBI governor’s comments seemed like those made by global experts who have never been to India.

“During the 1990s BOP crisis, we used to have a word for visiting WB, IMF and other MDB economists: “Parachute economists” . Sad that a former RBI Governor sounds like that to someone who has worked on Indian economy for 1/2 a century,” Virmani said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Rajan, in a Bloomberg interview, said it is unlikely that India will not be a developed economy by 2047 adding that it would be “nonsense” to talk of that goal “if so many of your kids don’t have a high school education and drop-out rates remain high.”

His remarks have sparked a row with prominent names such as Mohandas Pai calling his arguments “silly” and not related to the ground reality in India.

“Silly arguments by RR (Raghuram Rajan), school dropout rates are down,college enrolment increased,huge jobs created, Wrong comparison about chil subsidy given over many years,to annual spend on HE,” said Pai, Chairperson of Manipal Global Education.

Rajan, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, had summarised that India needs to put more effort to achieve 8 per cent growth on a sustainable basis. He also criticised the government for its focus on high-profile projects like chip manufacturing instead of doing the work to fix the education system.

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