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
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