RSIS Seminar by Dr Duvvuri Subbarao, Visiting Senior Fellow, RSIS and Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
India in a Globalising World
India was a late globaliser. For over four decades after independence from colonial rule in 1947, it remained a closed economy – one of the most closed in the world – with the government controlling virtually all economic activity. The result of this dirigiste regime was frequent famines, extensive poverty and a ‘Hindu rate of growth’ that averaged 3% per annum.
Then, confronted with an unprecedented balance of payments crisis in 1991, India embraced liberalisation and unleashed a broad swath of reforms. The burst of entrepreneurism that resulted moved the economy to a higher growth trajectory. Productivity improved, poverty declined, economic opportunities expanded and people became more aspirational. The economy is modernising, urbanising and globalising.
Even as what India has achieved is remarkable, the development challenge remains daunting. India has to accelerate its growth rate and translate that path to poverty reduction.
What compounds India’s challenge is the turn of tide against globalisation – the growing backlash since the turn of the millennium with rich countries attributing the loss of jobs, rise in inequality and collapse of communities in their countries to the forces of globalisation.
Experience shows that globalisation is a double edged sword. How does India navigate its growth and development challenges such as to maximise the benefits and minimise the costs of integrating with the world?
Dr Subbarao’s seminar will explore this question.
About the Speaker
Duvvuri Subbarao served as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India for five years (2008-13). Prior to that, he was Finance Secretary to the Government of India and Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.
Dr Subbarao was a career civil servant in India for over three decades where he worked in various positions, acquiring hands on experience in public finance management at national and sub-national levels. He was also actively involved in formulating and implementing economic and financial sector reforms in India.
Dr Subbarao was a Lead Economist in the World Bank (1999 – 2004) where his responsibilities involved advising developing countries on public finance reforms.
Dr Subbarao studied MSc in Physics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur finishing at the top of his class. He went to Graduate School at Ohio State University where he got an MS in Economics, and later went to MIT as a Humphrey Fellow to study Public Finance. He earned his PhD in Economics from Andhra University in India.
Dr Subbarao went in as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India just a week before the global financial crisis erupted in full in mid-September 2008, and he led the effort to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the Indian economy and to institute economic and financial sector reforms reflecting the lessons of the crisis.
Dr Subbarao was alternate Governor for India on the Governing Boards of both the World Bank and the IMF. He participated actively in the G 20 meetings, the meetings of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (of the IMF), bi-monthly meetings of Governors at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, the Asian Consultative Committee of central bank governors and a host of other international committees and conferences where his views were respected for the emerging market perspective he brought to bear on the discussions, especially in crisis management, the spillover impact of unconventional monetary policies of advanced economies and post-crisis reforms
Dr Subbarao has been a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the National University of Singapore (NUS) since mid-2014, attached concurrently to the Business School and the Institute of South Asian Studies. While at NUS, he wrote a book “Who Moved My Interest Rate” which was acclaimed for the exposition of crisis management from an emerging economy perspective. At NUS, he also worked on a host of public policy issues in the areas of macroeconomic management, central banking, financial sector regulation, challenges of globalisation and public policy leadership.