Monday, May 3, 2010


Sir Osborne Smith (01-04-1935 to 30-06-1937)

Sir Osborne Smith was the first Governor of the Reserve Bank. A

professional banker, he served for more than 20 years with the Bank of New

South Wales and 10 years with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia

before coming to India in 1926 as a Managing Governor of the Imperial

Bank of India.

His stewardship of the Imperial Bank won him recognition in banking

circles in India. However, his outlook on policy issues like the exchange

rates and interest rates was at variance with that of the Government. He resigned before his

tenure of three and a half years. Sir Osborne, however, did not sign any bank notes during his


Sir James Taylor (01-07-1937 to 17-02-1943)

Sir James Braid Taylor was a member of the Indian Civil Service and had

served for over a decade in the Currency Department of the Government of

India, initially as a Deputy Controller, later as Controller of the Currency,

and thereafter as additional secretary in the Finance Department. He was

closely associated with the preparation and piloting of the Reserve Bank of

India Bill. He served as Deputy Governor of the Bank prior to his

appointment as the Governor.

His stewardship saw the Bank through the war years and the financial experiments it

engendered and catalyzed, including the decisive break away from a silver currency to fiat

money. His second term came to an end with his sudden demise.

Sir C D Deshmukh (11-08-1943 to 30-06-1949)

Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh, a member of the Indian Civil Service,

was the first Indian Governor of the Bank. His association with the Bank

commenced in 1939, when he was appointed Government's liason officer.

He later served as Secretary and thereafter in 1941 as Deputy Governor of

the Bank. On the demise of James Taylor, he took over stewardship of the

Bank and was appointed Governor in August, 1943.

During his tenure as Governor, he represented India at the Bretton Woods

negotiations in 1944; saw the transition to Independence and the partition of the country and

the division of the assets and liabilities of the Reserve Bank between India and Pakistan. He


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helped the smooth transition of the Bank from a shareholder's institution to a State owned

organisation, when the Bank was nationalised on 1st January 1949. He later held the office of

Union Finance Minister from 1950-56.

Sir Benegal Rama Rau (01-07-1949 to 14-01-1957)

Sir Benegal Rama Rau, a member of the Indian Civil Service, was the

longest serving Governor of the Bank. Prior to joining the Bank he served

as the Indian Ambassador to the United States.

His tenure witnessed the commencement of the Planning Era as well

innovative initiatives in the spheres of co-operative credit and industrial

finance. The recommendations of the All India Rural Credit Survey

Committee appointed during his tenure led to the transformation of the

Imperial Bank of India to State Bank of India. The proportional reserve system of note issue

was replaced by a minimum reserve system to give the Bank greater flexibility.

He resigned in the middle of January 1957 before his second extended term of office expired

due to differences with the Finance Minister.

K G Ambegaonkar (14-01-1957 to 28-02-1957)

K. G. Ambegaokar, a member of the Indian Civil Service, served as

Finance Secretary prior to his appointment as Deputy Governor. On the

resignation of B. Rama Rau, he was appointed as the interim Governor till

H V R Iengar could take over.

He forged closer connections between agricultural enterprise and the

Reserve Bank's operations. K G Ambegaonkar did not sign any bank notes.

H V R Iengar (01-03-1957 to 28-02-1962)

H V R Iengar, a member of the Indian Civil Service, served for a brief while

as the Chairman of State Bank of India, before being appointed as the

Governor of the Reserve Bank.

His tenure witnessed India's shift to decimal coinage from the earlier

system. The period saw conscious efforts to consolidate the banking

industry. The Bank acquired powers in September 1960 to enforce

amalgamations and delicensing of banks. The Bank was also active in

catalysing medium term lending to industry by commercial banks by invoking the concept of


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refinance which led to the establishment of the Refinance Corporation for Industry Ltd.

Deposit Insurance for bank deposits was introduced in 1962 making India one of the earliest

countries to experiment with Deposit Insurance. In the sphere of monetary policy, the

variable cash reserve ratio was used for the first time as were the selective credit controls.

P C Bhattacharya (01-03-1962 to 30-06-1967)

P C Bhattacharya, a member of the Indian Audit and Account Service,

served as Secretary in the Finance Ministry and later as Chairman of the

State Bank of India prior to his appointment as Governor.

His tenure saw the establishment of the Industrial Development Bank of

India (1964), and the establishment of the Agricultural Refinance

Corporation (1963) and the Unit Trust of India (1964).

Other developments were the introduction of the Credit Authorisation Scheme as an

instrument of Credit Regulation, the devaluation of the Rupee in 1966, with a package of

measures including import liberalisation and elimination of export subsidies.

L K Jha (01-07-1967 to 03-05-1970)

L K Jha, a member of the Indian Civil Service, served as Secretary to the

Prime Minister, prior to his appointment as Governor.

During his tenure, social controls over commercial banks were introduced

as an experiment in 1968, as a part of which a National Credit Council was

established. Shortly thereafter, 14 major commercial banks were

nationalised in 1969, a step which did not have the endorsement of the

Reserve Bank.

Amongst other developments, gold controls were brought on a statutory basis; Deposit

Insurance was in principle extended to Cooperative banks; the Lead Bank Scheme was

introduced to facilitate credit delivery, and the setting up of the Agricultural Credit Board. L

K Jha was appointed India's Ambassador to the United States in May 1970 prior to the

completion of his term as Governor.

B N Adarkar (04-05-1970 to 15-06-1970)

B N Adarkar held the post of Governor during the interregnum till S Jagannathan could take

over as Governor.

He was a professional economist and served for many years in the office of the Economic


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Adviser of the Government of India and also held important positions in the

Ministry of Commerce & Industry prior to his appointment as the Deputy

Governor of the Bank.

He also served as India's Executive Director at the IMF and as Deputy

Governor; he played an active role in the establishment of the National

Institute of Bank Management.

S Jagannathan (16-06-1970 to 19-05-1975)

S Jagannathan was a member of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service. He

had served with the Central Government and thereafter as India's Executive

Director at the World Bank, prior to being appointed as the Governor.

His tenure of office was characterised by a very active monetary policy in

the wake of unprecedented inflation in the country following the oil shock,

an exponential expansion of banking offices in pursuance of one of the

important objectives of nationalisation; the establishment of Credit

Guarantee Corporation of India, the setting up of State Level Bankers' Committees and the

shift to floating rates regime.

He relinquished office to take up the post of the Indian Executive Director at the IMF.

N C Sen Gupta (19-05-1975 to 19-08-1975)

N C Sen Gupta was appointed Governor for three months till K R Puri

could assume office. N. C. Sen Gupta was the eleventh Governor of the

Reserve Bank of India. Even though his tenure was short, his signature

appears on the Indian rupee note of 1000 denomination. This is the only

note that bears his signature.

Prior to his appointment as the Governor, he was working as Secretary to

the Department of Banking of the Ministry of Finance.

K R Puri (20-08-1975 to 02-05-1977)

K R Puri served as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Life

Insurance Corporation of India before his appointment as Governor.

During his tenure, Regional Rural Banks were set up; the Asian Clearing

Union commenced operations; the twenty point economic programme was

announced and operationalise and a new money supply series introduced.


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M Narasimham (02-05-1977 to 30-11-1977)

M Narasimham was the first and so far the only Governor to be appointed

from the Reserve Bank cadre, having joined the Bank as a Research Officer

in the Economic Department. He later joined the Government and prior to

his appointment as Governor he served as Additional Secretary, Department

of Economic Affairs.

He had a short tenure of seven months. He later served as Executive

Director for India at the World Bank and thereafter at the IMF after which he served in the

Ministry of Finance as Secretary. He was chairperson of the Committee on the Financial

System, 1991 and the Committee of Banking Sector Reforms, 1998.

Dr. I G Patel (01-12-1977 to 15-09-1982)

Dr. I G Patel an economist and administrator joined the Reserve Bank as

Governor after serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and

thereafter at the UNDP.

His tenure witnessed the demonetization of high denomination notes as well

as the 'gold auctions' conducted by the Bank on behalf of Government of

India. During his tenure six private sector banks were nationalised, targets

for priority sector lending introduced, and the Deposit Insurance and Credit

Guarantee Corporations were merged, and a Departmental reorganisation was undertaken in

the Bank. He played an active role in availing of the IMF's Extended Fund Facility in 1981

due to balance of payments difficulties. This represented the largest arrangement in IMF's

history at the time.

Dr. Manmohan Singh (16-09-1982 to 14-01-1985)

Dr Manmohan Singh, academic and administrator, had served as Secretary

Finance as well as Member Secretary of the Planning Commission prior to

his appointment as Governor. During his tenure comprehensive legal

reforms were carried out related to the banking sector and a new chapter

introduced in the Reserve Bank of India Act and the Urban Banks

Department was set up.

After his tenure in the Bank, he served in various capacities before being

appointed Finance Minister. His tenure as Finance Minister was notable for

the fact that he heralded in liberalisation and comprehensive reforms in India.


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A Ghosh (5-01-1985 to 04-02-1985)

A Ghosh was the Deputy Governor of the Bank since 1982 when he was

appointed Governor for a brief period of 15 days till R N Malhotra could

take over. He was earlier the Chairman of Allahabad Bank prior to his

appointment as the Deputy Governor of the Bank. He was also a Director of

the Industrial Development Bank of India and the governing body of the

National Institute of Bank Management.

R N Malhotra (04-02-1985 to 22-12-1990)

R.N. Malhotra, a member of the Indian Administrative Service, served as

Secretary, Finance and Executive Director of the IMF, prior to his

appointment as Governor.

During his tenure efforts were made to develop the money markets and new

instruments were introduced. The Discount and Finance House of India, the

National Housing Bank was set up and the Indira Gandhi Institute of

Development Research inaugurated. In the field of rural finance, the Service

Area Approach was adopted as an approach to catalyze the flow of credit through commercial


S Venkitaramanan (22-12-1990 to 21-12-1992)

S Venkitaramanan, a member of the Indian Administrative Service, had

served as Finance Secretary and adviser to the Government of Karnataka

prior to his appointment as Governor.

The country faced difficulties related to the external sector during his

tenure. His adroit management saw the country tide over the balance of

payments crisis. His term also saw India adopt the IMF's stabilisation

programme where the Rupee underwent a devaluation and the launch of the

programme of economic reforms.

Dr. C Rangarajan (22-12-1992 to 21-12-1997)

Dr. C Rangarajan was a professional economist. Prior to his appointment as the Governor, he

held charge as Deputy Governor for over a decade. He was also a member of the Planning

Commission and a member of the Tenth Finance Commission.

His tenure as Governor saw unprecedented central bank activism to put in place a

comprehensive set of measures to strengthen and improve the competitive efficiency of the


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financial sector. New institutions and instruments were introduced and

changes in exchange rate management culminated in the establishment of a

unified exchange rate. In the field of monetary policy, his tenure saw the

historic memorandum signed between the Bank and the Government

whereby a cap was put on the automatic finance by the Bank to the

Government in the form of ad hoc treasury bills.

Dr. Bimal Jalan (22-11-1997 to 06-09-2003)

Dr. Bimal Jalan served as Chief Economic Advisor to Government of India,

Banking Secretary, Finance Secretary, Member Secretary of Planning

Commission, and Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime

Minister prior to being appointed as Governor. He had also represented

India on the Executive Boards of the IMF and the World Bank.

During his tenure, India weathered the Asian Crisis and has seen the

consolidation of the gains of liberalisation and economic reforms. The

monetary policy process was demystified and central bank communications marked a

perceived shift towards transparency.

This period has seen a slew of measures to strengthen the banking sector, establish new

institutions and introduce new instruments. The period has been characterised by the

strengthening of the balance of payments and forex position, low inflation and soft interest


Dr. Y V Reddy (06-09-2003 to 5-09-2008)

Dr. Yaga Venugopal Reddy the twenty-first Governor is a member of the

Indian Administrative Service. He has spent most of his career in the areas

of finance and planning. He served as Secretary (Banking) in Ministry of

Finance, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Joint Secretary in

Ministry of Finance in Government of India, Principal Secretary,

Government of Andhra Pradesh and had a six year tenure as Deputy

Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Prior to his appointment as the

Governor, Dr. Reddy was India's Executive Director on the Board of the

International Monetary Fund.

Dr. Reddy has made significant policy contributions in the areas of financial sector reforms;

trade finance; monitoring of balance of payments and exchange rate; external commercial

borrowings; centre-state financial relations; regional planning; and public enterprise reform

and has been closely associated with institution building. He has several publications to his

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