Viral Acharya, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, uses a cricketing analogy to describe differences between the goals of central banks and governments. Politicians are in the hard-hitting 20-over form of the game, wrapped up in less than a day, he says. Central bankers play the long form — Test match cricket, which last five days. While governments want quick results, the approach of central bankers is to try to win each session “but also importantly to survive it so as to have a chance to win the next”. In a polemical speech, this was a genteel way of framing an increasingly acrimonious stand-off between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and the Reserve Bank of India. For India, much is at stake. Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Modi’s administration is pushing for access to central bank reserves to shore up its own finances and step up spending. It is also pressing the Reserve Bank of India to loosen monetary policy and pump liquidity into fragile banks and ...

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