Bimal Jalan, former RBI governor, wears, and has worn, several hats. Jalan was chief economic adviser for a long time, a duration surpassed only by Shankar Acharya. Therefore, it’s right to describe him as an economist. Those who work for the government rarely have an opportunity, or inclination, to write for the public. Unless I am wrong, his first book was published in 1991, written and published just before the economic reforms. Since then, Jalan has written/edited several books.
Economists, or every specialist, have a narrow view of the world, viewed through their own prisms. However, every economy has a certain social, legal, institutional and constitutional context. Delinked from that context, the economIST’s view becomes a jaundiced one. Since he was a policy economist, Jalan’s initial books weren’t of the abstract and esoteric kind. They were grounded in reality. Nevertheless, they were books economists would have written. In 2003, he became a Rajya Sabha MP. I notice a change thereafter. Every author’s take is based on subjective experiences. Exposed to politics, though not of the hurly-burly kind, Jalan’s interests got diversified; his books became more interesting. I can’t think of many economists who have had the kind of diversified experience required to write the kind of book Jalan writes now.