Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday called a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated magazine’s comments on information technology giant Infosys “completely unproductive”, NDTV reported.
Panchjanya, a weekly linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological mentor, had suggested in an article on September 5 that Infosys was a part of an “anti-national conspiracy”. However, the RSS had distanced itself from the comment.
The article alleged that Infosys was deliberately not fixing glitches in the new income tax portal to perhaps “destabilise India’s economy”.
In an interview to NDTV, Rajan said mistakes happen and the practice should be to investigate them.
The economist asked: “Would you accuse the government of being anti-national for not doing a good job on vaccines initially? You say it is a mistake. And people do make mistakes.”
During the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India in April and May, the Centre had faced intense criticism from the Supreme Court as well as Opposition leaders for the differential pricing of vaccines and acute shortage of doses.
Rajan also spoke about the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax in 2017. “I don’t think the GST rollout has been spectacular,” he told NDTV. “It could have been done better.”
The GST rollout had been criticised for being complicated. In 2018, the Opposition had called it a “Grossly Scary Tax”, adding that multiple returns, multiple rules and tax slabs made the life of an ordinary trader “nightmarish”.
The former RBI governor told NDTV: “We need an inquiry into the vaccine rollout and why the GST was not rolled out properly. People make mistakes. But learn from those mistakes and don’t use them as a club to roll out your own prejudices.”
Rajan noted that the emerging divisiveness in India is problematic. “It is also creating a harsher business environment in the longer run,” he said.
The economist added that when the government operates without checks and balances, it affects businesses eventually.
Rajan said: “The lack of checks and balances implies that arbitrary decisions can be taken with respect to them [businesses] and they have very limited recourse because all the tools that would ordinarily check the government – free press and an independent judiciary – are within the grasp of the government.”