Every word matters

RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has given 25 speeches since he took charge of Indian monetary affairs, and since then, has been sucked into several controversies


Raghuram Rajan has given 25 speeches since he took charge of Indian monetary affairs in September 2013—or nearly one a month. Most of his global peers have a similar strike rate. Communication is now a third tool of monetary policy, along with interest rate changes and liquidity management.

He has been sucked into many controversies during his tenure. In his latest speech, Rajan has complained about journalists who write newspaper headlines in which “words are hung to dry out of context”. The headline, rather than the gist of a speech, then dominates the narrative.

Not all newspapers play this game. This one for sure does not. But central bank watchers are quite naturally looking for a subtext—not just reporters but also analysts. Alan Greenspan—master of the art of constructive ambiguity—once said that he would think of The Washington Post headline the next day even as he spoke. Rajan should do the same.