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Meet 'The Guv' Raghuram Rajan: India's new RBI chief gets rock star welcome

Sep 05 2013, 15:55 IST
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Raghuram Rajan  a former chief economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who was economic adviser to the finance ministry arrived at Reserve Bank of India (RBI) head quarters to take over as RBI Governor on Wednesday. Express photo by Prashant Nadkar Raghuram Rajan a former chief economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who was economic adviser to the finance ministry arrived at Reserve Bank of India (RBI) head quarters to take over as RBI Governor on Wednesday. Express photo by Prashant Nadkar
SummaryRajan is a respected international economist and best known for his prescient warning in 2005.

Less than 24 hours in the job and he has already been dubbed "The Guv" by a gushing Indian media and portrayed as a suave James Bond-like figure coming to the rescue of the country's crashing currency.

With the ink of his signature still drying on the oath that made him the 23rd governor of India's Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday, Raghuram Rajan, stunned investors by announcing a raft of measures aimed at shoring up the beleaguered rupee. His statement triggered a rally in the rupee and a surge in shares.

Raghuram Rajan move may mobilise $10 bn from abroad, aid Indian rupee, says experts

After weeks of reporting bad news on India's economic slowdown and tumbling currency, media breathlessly cheered the 50-year-old University of Chicago economist, giving him coverage normally reserved for Bollywood A-listers.

The "Name's Rajan, Game's Bond," punned one of India's leading business dailies with a photo-edited picture on its front page of Rajan in an action pose and brandishing the fictional British spy's trademark Beretta pistol, albeit one made of Indian rupee notes.

"Brilliant and bold. That's the takeaway from the first day first show of Raghuram Rajan," wrote Raghuvir Srinivasan, business editor of the Hindu, a leading English-language newspaper.

The enthusiastic welcome extended beyond the media.

"The statement is impressive and a must-read," Deutsche Bank Research said of Rajan's reform plan, calling him a "breath of fresh air".

Rajan is a respected international economist and best known for his prescient warning in 2005 about a possible global financial crisis.

But it is not only his economic theories that attract attention. Admirers comment on his looks, athletic build and also his casual manner, which is in stark contrast to the typical buttoned-down stiffness of Indian bureaucrats.

"THE GOVERNATOR"

He has already inspired a parody Twitter site called "The Governator".

"I think it's time I took my shirt off," a Tweet read in August after various measures announced by the government and the central bank failed to arrest the fall in the rupee.

He arrived at the Reserve Bank of India's headquarters in a cab on Wednesday for what many had thought would be just a series of "meet and greet" sessions with senior bank officials and photo opportunities before getting down to work on Thursday.

Even when it was made known that he would make a statement in the early evening, not much was anticipated.

Rajan, who until Wednesday had

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