If not for anything else, the D. Subbarao regime at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that ends with his retirement on Wednesday will be remembered for his relentless fight with the finance ministry for the central bank’s independence.

His predecessor Y.V. Reddy too was involved in similar fights — which were more severe than an India-China war, a colleague of Reddy says in jest — but the details are not in the public domain. Also, Reddy’s run-ins with the finance ministry were more on specific issues while Subbarao fought on broader policy issues.

Unlike Reddy, who was also a civil servant, Subbarao’s passage to Mint Road from the finance ministry in 2008 was direct. He was given preference over Reddy’s deputy Rakesh Mohan for the top job. In that sense, he was seen as a Trojan horse, so his fights with the ministry have been baffling. Read More