Rajan, who will take over from me early next month, is here in the audience. The challenge for you, Governor Rajan, will be how you will use your formidable intellect, scholarship and global experience to shape the Reserve Bank as a knowledge institution that will set standards for how an emerging economy central bank should manage macro economic policy in a globalising world.
"I am aware this is history in the future but history that will nevertheless be historic," he said.
Asking a "cliched" question whether history repeats itself, Subbarao said, "Has RBI history repeated itself? That is a judgement call. But some issues do keep repeating in RBI history. I will give just one illustration."
Citing the issue of gold, the Governor said documents about 35years ago RBI got into a controversy over its auction of gold.
Again in 1991, there was a heated, if also emotional, debate in the country when the RBI pledged its gold reserves to tide over the balance of payments stress.
"It will be interesting to conjecture on how history will judge the purchase of 200 tonnes of gold by the Reserve Bank from the IMF in 2010, and its more recent policies to restrain imports of gold?" he said.
Jalan, who was Chairman, Advisory Committee of RBI History Volume 4 (1981-1997), said the writing of history was a difficult process in which the History Cell of RBI played an important role. It took three to four years to complete the task.
Referring to the various eras of the RBI's functioning including the planning era after independence and during Manmohan Singh's governorship, Jalan said at one time the RBI's functioning was determined by the government.
Even the interest rates were decided by the finance ministry, he said.
"The Prime Minister was a pioneer in shaping the relative autonomy when he moved to the RBI in 1982. When there were differences between the government and the RBI he could still shape its autonomy in the monetary area in consultation with the government," he said.
Between 1991-96, Jalan said, India's economy was emerging and the period between 1981-97 marked India's emergence as a globalised open economy recording fast growth.
The fourth volume of history is only 10 per cent RBI history and the rest is the history of macro economy of India, Jalan said.
The prime minister appeared to agree with him when he said the history of RBI is the history of