Subir Gokarn, who was one of the youngest Deputy Governors of the Reserve Bank of India, passed away on Tuesday in the US after a brief illness.
A noted economist, Gokarn had joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board as ED (India) in December 2015 and was to complete his term in October this year. Prior to joining the IMF, Gokarn was the Director of Research at the Brookings India in New Delhi.
A statement by the Finance Ministry noted that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while paying her last respects, “recalled his intellect at articulation of India’s concerns at the IMF”. “Gokarn has had an illustrious career spanning over three decades. He was one of the youngest to serve as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India,” the Finance Ministry said in a release.
Born on October 3, 1959, Gokarn served as the RBI Deputy Governor from November 24, 2009 to December 31, 2012.
His term at the central bank, where he was in-charge of monetary policy, coincided with period when the world was reeling from a global financial crisis triggered by fall of Lehman Brothers. Former RBI Governor D Subbarao, under whom Gokarn served as Deputy Governor, has said that he had sought an extension for Gokarn’s term at RBI at the end of his tenure but the request was rejected by the Central government. Following his term as the RBI Deputy Governor, Gokarn joined think-tank Brookings India, where he helped set up a research team.
“Brookings India did not have an office; it still needed to clear the regulatory hoops and was constrained for finance. Subir did not allow these operational, regulatory and financial issues to constrain his drive to build a robust and high-quality research team. Several of our current research staff were hired under Subir’s watch and mentored by him over the years,” the think-tank’s Chairman and Senior Fellow Vikram Singh Mehta noted in an obituary titled “Remembering Subir Gokarn”.
He is survived by his wife Jyotsna Bapat and daughter Kanak Gokarn. He also worked with Standard and Poor’s, National Council of Applied Economic Research, ratings agency CRISIL and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.