No one else but Mahatma Gandhi on currency notes: Raghuram Rajan

Aug 12 2014, 11:33 IST
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SummaryThere are so many great Indians, but of course he (Mahatma Gandhi) stands above head and shoulders above every one, says Raghuram Rajan.

As speculation swirled about various names for Bharat Ratna, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan today said that nobody but Mahatma Gandhi should feature on the currency notes.

"There are so many great Indians, but of course he (Gandhi) stands above head and shoulders above every one. There are many great Indians that we could get on the notes. But I sense that almost anybody else would be controversial," the Governor said, replying to a question on why we should not have the scientist Homi Bhabha or the poet Rabindranath Tagore on the rupee notes.

He was taking questions from the audience at the 20th Lalit Doshi memorial lecture here this evening.

"We have a recent example of a sportsman being made the Bharta Ratna and within sports itself, despite this person being somewhat iconic, there is a lot of debate about who is really the best," Rajan said.

There was a fair bit of controversy after cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the top civilian honour over others like Dhyanchand who captained the nation to glory in its national game-- hockey.

Meanwhile, on a question about demonetisation to check black money, Rajan said we have tried the same in the past but people find some way around it.

Rajan said he would focus more on existing incentives to get back the black money and added that most of the incentives would revolve around taxation.

"My sense is the current tax rate in the country for the most part is reasonable and now if we have a reasonable tax regime, for example maximum tax rate for high income is 33 percent whereas in the US it is already over 39 percent...We are actually lower than many industrial countries," he said.

The Governor said more focus should be laid on tracking data and better taxation in order to get to the undeclared incomes and added that in a modern economy, it is "very hard" to hide money easily.

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