The Importance and Unimportance of S. Gurumurthy

Nov 25, 2019
in, Economy
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The Problem

Many believe the demonetisation announced on November 8, 2016 was a whimsical move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi even as he stuck to form by obtaining prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India before announcing the momentous decision. Others contend that while the move was announced suddenly in order to take everyone by surprise, it was nevertheless premeditated. Importantly, it is said that the decision to demonetise 86% of the currency in circulation in the country was based on inputs from a few close advisers of the prime minister, notable among whom was Swaminathan Gurumurthy.

Whatever the truth of notebandi’s provenance, today, however, the 68-year-old chartered accountant and ideologue of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, appears less than enthusiastic about the impact that the move has had on the Indian economy.

A chartered accountant by qualification and well-known mediator in corporate disputes involving families, Gurumurthy is a columnist by vocation and an activist too: he is co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, which espouses economic nationalism, Hindutva-style. He belongs to a small group of thinkers whose views are given considerable importance by the prime minister.

A chartered accountant by qualification and well-known mediator in corporate disputes involving families, Gurumurthy is a columnist by vocation and an activist too: he is co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, which espouses economic nationalism, Hindutva-style. He belongs to a small group of thinkers whose views are given considerable importance by the prime minister.

Gurumurthy has been editing the Tamil magazine Thuglak after the demise of its founder Cho Ramaswamy. Among his close friends is Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia who moved from the Gujarat government to North Block in Delhi as secretary, financial services in the Ministry of Finance. Adhia is a trusted confidante of Modi. It is said that Adhia was introduced to yoga and the finer nuances of Hinduism by Gurumurthy. Adhia holds a doctorate degree in yoga from Swami Vivekananda Yoga University in Bangalore. Besides Adhia, another officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) to whom Gurumurthy is said to close to is T V Somanathan in the Prime Minister’s Office. In fact, he is said to have recommended his appointment. India Today magazine ranked him in 30th place in its 2017 list of “India’s 50 Most Powerful People”. He was the subject of media attention in 1997 when he accused two senior government officials of acting as American “moles” without directly naming them. Later, in 2006, in a newspaper article, he named the people he was accusing: V.S. Arunachalam and former Indian ambassador to the US Naresh Chandra..

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