Raghuram Rajan is the second Reserve Bank Governor who will be leaving the Mint Road headquarters of the India’s banking sector regulator without getting a five-year term in the last 25 years — since 1991 when India started liberalising its economy. Rajan will complete his three-year tenure on September 4, 2016 and return to the academia in the US.
Before him, S Venkitaramanan got only a two-year tenure as the RBI Governor from December 22, 1990 to December 21, 1992 – the period when the infamous Harshad Mehta scam rocked the Indian financial market. Venkitaramanan who was the Finance Secretary before coming to the RBI faced a turbulent period.
RN Malhotra, who was also the Finance Scretary, served as the RBI Governor for a five year-term from February 4, 1985 to December 22, 1990. Venkitaramanan was succeeded by C Rangarajan who served as the RBI chief for five years from December 22, 1992 to November 22, 1997. This was the period when the Narasimha Rao Government unleashed the economic reforms and India accelerated the growth rate. Incidentally, Manmohan Singh who was the RBI Governor from 1982-1985 was the Finance Minister during that period.
After Rangarajan, Bimal Jalan, an economist who also served as the Banking Secretary and the Chief Economic Advisor became the RBI Governor from November 22, 1997 to September 5, 2003. He became a Member of Rajya Sabha while Rangarajan got the job of the Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advsiory Council.
YV Reddy who became the RBI Governor next got a five year term from September 6, 2003 to September 5, 2008. He stood like a fortress when the global economy was rocked by a financial crisis. D Subbarao, who was the Union Finance Secretary, succeeded Reddy and remained at the helm of the RBI from September 5, 2008 to September 4, 2013. He became a Visiting Fellow at the National University of Singapore after retirement while Reddy became Chairman of the 14th Finance Commission.
While Rajan, Jalan and Rangarajan were trained economists, Venkitaraman, Reddy, Subbarao and Malhotra were from the Indian Administrative Service and served in various ministries before coming to the RBI. Rajan is the 23rd RBI Governor since the institution was set up in 1937. Chintaman D.Deshmukh was the first Indian to become the Governor for a six-year term from 1943 to 1949.