“Advice & Dissent – My Life in Public Service” by Y.V.
Dr. Y.V. Reddy is well
known as an economist and the 21st Governor of the Reserve Bank of
India (2003-08). In 2010, the President awarded India’s second highest civilian
honour, the Padma Vibhushan, to him. At present he is Honorary
Professor, Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad. After
completing his M.A. in Economics from Madras University, he obtained a Ph.D.
from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Joining the Indian Administrative Service
in 1964, he rose to the position of Secretary (Banking) in the Ministry of
Finance in 1995. He moved to the Reserve Bank of India in 1996 as Deputy
Governor and then to the International Monetary Fund in 2002 as Executive
Director on the Board. He was also the Chairman of the 14th Finance
Commission of India.
Looking back at his long
career in public service, he says that he was firm and unafraid to speak his
mind but avoided open discord. He writes about decision-making at several
levels and gives an account of the debate and thinking behind some landmark
events and some remarkable initiatives of his own whose benefits reached the
man on the street.
Reading between the
lines, one recognises controversies on key policy decisions which reverberate
even now. The book provides a ringside view of the licence permit raj, drought,
bonded labour, draconian forex controls, the balance of payments crisis,
liberalisation, high finance and the emergence of India as a key player in the
As RBI Governor from 2003
to 2008, he presided over a period of high growth-low inflation, a stable rupee
and ample foreign exchange reserves – a far cry from the 1991 crisis he lived
through and describes in vivid detail, when the country had to mortgage its
gold to meet its debt obligations. He is credited with saving the Indian
banking system from the sub-prime and liquidity crises of 2008 that erupted
shortly after his term at RBI ended. Dr Reddy provides insight into the
post-crisis reflection undertaken by several global institutions on the
international monetary system and the financial architectu