Bimal Jalan, the ‘go-to man’ for most political parties

‘One of the reasons Jalan, the only bureaucrat in India who has been executive director at both the IMF and then the World Bank,successively, can afford to be forthright is that he has seen it all in his 78 years,’ says Subhomoy Bhattacharjee

.It was a period of bitter divisions in both Houses and the former Reserve Bank governor bluntly expressed his shock as the Rajya Sabha, in the midst of utter pandemonium, pass in a jiffy hundreds of “papers including annual reports of public sector organisations, outcome and performance budgets, action-taken reports, and notifications issued by various departments by a dozen ministers”.These comments on this dereliction of parliamentary duty were captured in his book Indian Politics: A View from the Backbench published in 2007.He has gone on to write several other books before and after but this was the most acerbic.“Three of the highest offices of the state – those of president, vice-president and prime minister – are now held by persons who were nominated at the last minute by the leader of the largest party in the multi-party coalition in power.”The elected representatives of the people in Parliament and state legislatures had no prior knowledge but duly voted, where voting was required, to confirm the decision of a select group of party leaders.”Jalan does not pull his punches despite his low-key demeanour.That was evident in the report submitted by the expert committee he chaired to review the extant economic capital framework of the RBI.The issue had been a febrile one for the government for some months, especially with the underperformance in tax revenues raising the ask for fund transfers from the central bank.One of the reasons Jalan can afford to be forthright is that he has seen it all in his 78 years.He has successively held the posts of chief economic advisor, banking secretary and then the finance secretary in the Government of India in 1981-90 before he went on to become the executive director for India at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 1991-93.It was the most significant period in India’s economic history when the nation lurched into the balance of payments crisis.Incidentally, Jalan is the only bureaucrat in India who has been executive director at both the IMF and then the World Bank, successively.After negotiating the IMF bailout as part of India’s economic crisis management team under Manmohan Singh, Jalan’s next assignment was to convince the World Bank to stand by India instead of putting in spanner in the works by imposing stiff conditions in its aid programmes.

Check Also

ISIS Founder Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Died “Like A Dog” During US Raid: Trump

🔊 Listen to this WASHINGTON:  US President Donald Trump on Sunday said that elusive ISIS …