Book Review: Advice & Dissent

The Book ‘Advice & Dissent’ is an autobiography written by former RBI Governor Y.V Reddy

Governor Reddy is widely credited for saving India during the financial crisis of 2008 owing to his prudent and counter-cyclical measures.

The Book traces the journey of Dr.Reddy as an IAS trainee to the highest offices in the land.

It is full of interesting anecdotes and insights which brings to the fore the pressures a civil servant has to face while performing his duties.

I found a couple of insights in the Book fairly interesting.

One insight is that while the IAS has officers from all parts of the country-the western part of India-Gujarat & Maharashtra is under-represented. This  has been the case since Independence. Probable reasons could be better opportunities for youngsters there than a sarkaari naukri

Another fascinating insight was how Governor Reddy ensured that foreign banks do not enter India.

He descibes his meeting with a senior official of Citibank in Washington DC, as follows

“In Washington D.C, a senior official of Citibank called on me.

He  offered to provide assistance to the RBI in preparing the guidelines for the entry of foreign banks.

Elections have been ordered and a new government is yet to take a position on this matter,I informed him.

He asserted that Citibank was confident of implementing the policy, whichever government comes to power.

I was taken back.Such an assertion indicated the influence that the global financial conglomerates could exercise over the political and decision making processes in our country.

I resolved that we simply could not afford it.”

I also found it interesting the manner in which he resolved the issues of GTB fiasco and ICICI Bank merger with ICICI.

The wisdom,wit, integrity and honesty of Governor Reddy shines in the book throughout and makes the Book for an interesting read.

Two of his famous statements as Governor still elicit a laugh:

“My job as the RBI Governor is to save the Indian Economy from the Govt of India”

“The Reserve Bank of India Governor is very independent. And, I took the permission of my Finance Minister to say this…:”

Do buy this book if interested in policy making and central banking.

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