The RBI at 75

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The Reserve Bank of India is celebrating its 75th year as the central bank of the country this month. It was set up on 1 April 1935, and according to the preamble of its constitution, tasked ‘ regulate the issue of Bank Notes and keeping of reserves with a view to securing monetary stability in India and generally to operate the currency and credit system of the country to its advantage.’ The RBI has seen the Indian economy go from a socialist to throbbing consumerist democracy. And in the course of this history, the banker of banks has received equal measures of bouquets and brickbats, criticised for being so strict as to restrict growth and then praised for protecting the country from debacles such as the 2008 sub-prime crisis in America. The present Governor, who took oath in September 2008 (his term ends in 2011), in the middle of the Great Recession, is now fire-fighting rising food prices and general inflation. Happy birthday!