A great central banker and a gentleman

A great central banker and a gentleman: SS Tarapore was a visionary whose foresight and empathy made him a unique economist

February 4, 2016
S S Tarapore
The reminiscences about Tarapore by Usha Thorat (The Hindu Business Line, February 4) goes much beyond a routine obit. For a person whom Tarapore trusted for carrying on his legacy within RBI and in the financial sector in general (He mentioned sometime during early 1990’s that in the hands of a team which had people like Usha Thorat in leadership role, the future of sensitive work areas like forex reserves management was safe), to write about him in a 700 word 'precis' could have been a tough and painful task.
Thorat has done justice to the task and economists and policy makers have enough clues in this short article on why Tarapore wrote what he wrote in his ‘Maverick’ views(his regular column) in the Hindu Business Line. The reward the departed soul would expect for a lifetime of relentless struggle to protect central banking from its owners would be retaining RBI strong and equipping the central bank with the policy support he was almost begging for. Tarapore was particularly perturbed about the depleting reserves level of RBI and had gone on record saying:
“The building up of the contingency reserve is particularly important as the government is in no position to pick up the losses once the reserve is wiped out. One of the saddest events that can occur is the death of a central bank. This has happened in some countries and the RBI can never be too careful”
A second reading of this article by one who has seen the RBI balance sheet in close quarters for a long period testifies the fears expressed by him are real.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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