RBI’s Shaktikanta Das becomes 2nd Indian to win ‘Governor of the Year’ Award by Central Banking

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Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has been named the ‘Governor of the Year’ for 2023 by the international economic research journal Central Banking. This is the second time an Indian central bank governor has won the award, with Raghuram Rajan being the last recipient in 2015.

RBI Governor – Shaktikanta Das

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, Shaktikanta Das, has been named Governor of the Year by the Central Banking Awards 2023 on Wednesday, March 15. He has been recognised for his leadership, and for his handling of multiple crises that have arisen during his tenure.

The publication praised Das for his steady leadership during challenging times, including the collapse of a major non-bank firm, the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the inflationary impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Under Das’s leadership, the RBI implemented critical reforms, introduced innovative payment systems, and provided growth-supportive measures during the pandemic.

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Das was commended for steering the central bank deftly between intense political pressures and economic disaster. He insisted that ‘sunset clauses’ be applied to most of the RBI’s Covid-19 interventions and provided targeted liquidity to key sectors, foreign exchange, and more generous terms to state governments on their overdraft facilities.

Prior to Das’s appointment, in August 2018, IL&FS, a significant non-banking financial company, went bankrupt, triggering a liquidity crunch and revealing deficiencies in the business models of several mid-sized banks that had lent heavily to NBFCs.
Subsequently, several other firms, including Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank, also collapsed.

Das’s predecessors, Raghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel, had already initiated some measures to address the non-banking financial crisis, such as revising the bankruptcy code to resolve NBFCs, but additional measures were implemented during Das’s tenure. These included implementing liquidity regulations for non-banks and closer supervision of major players in the sector. In October 2022, a new scale-based regulatory framework for NBFCs was introduced.

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Public sector banks (PSBs) have the most profound challenges, with high levels of non-performing assets (NPAs), weak capital, and little lending growth. However, since 2018, there has been a steady improvement in the banking sector, which looked to be in dire straits at the time.

Additionally, the central bank of the year award was given to the National Bank of Ukraine. Das’s leadership during a time of crisis and his contributions to India’s economic reforms make him a deserving recipient of the prestigious Governor of the Year award.

Shaktikanta Das

Shaktikanta Das (born 26 February 1957) is serving as the current & 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He was earlier a member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission and India’s Sherpa to the G20. Das is a retired 1980 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Tamil Nadu cadre.

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During his career as an IAS officer, Das served in various capacities for Indian and Tamil Nadu governments, including as Economic Affairs Secretary, Revenue Secretary, Fertilizers Secretary. He has also served as India’s Alternate Governor in the World Bank, ADB, NDB & AIIB. He has represented India in various international forums like the IMF, G20, BRICS, SAARC, etc.

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