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Shaktikanta Das is the 1st Non-Economist RBI Governor in 28 years

Looking at the title one may wonder if the information is all a farce. Well, it is not. This is for real. After almost 3 decades, someone not from the economic background has been noticed as being the Governor of Reserve Bank of India. He is none other than Shaktikanta Das, the former IAS officer from the 1980 batch. He was appointed as the Governor of RBI on Tuesday. While Das was an IAS, he had played his part well.

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The RBI Act

The appointment for the post of the Governor of RBI does not have any fixed criteria for eligibility. As per the RBI Act, the appointment of the Governor of RBI is dependent on the hands of PMO as he approves the Governor. This approval is done on the guidance of the finance minister. Mr. Shaktikanta Das is considered the 25th Governor of RBI. Also, he stands as the 14th career bureaucrat that includes 12 IAS/ICS officers.

With Shaktikanta Das being appointed as the Governor or RBI, the post has treaded back to an IAS officer. This officer was appointed as the Governor after the passage of two economists in this post. The previous IAS officer who held the position of the Governor of RBI was D Subbarao. Subbarao was an economist who was preceded by another economist YV Reddy.

Qualification of Shaktikanta

The present Governor of RBI Shaktikanta Das is a graduate and has passed post graduation in History from the Delhi University. Later, he underwent into a financial management course from the IIM Bangalore. His two predecessors as the Governor of RBI were Urjit Patel and Raghuram Rajan. Both of them were well-known economists.

Prior to Shaktikanta, another person who served his nation as an IAS officer as well as held the post of the Governor in the RBI was Venkitaraman. He was the financial secretary. Das did not become the Governor of RBI all of a sudden. Initially, he was the revenue secretary followed by the economic affairs secretary. Right at the time of demonetization at the time of Narendra Modi, Shaktikanta Das was the economic affairs secretary.

Previous appointees as RBI Governor

In the year 1935, the very first Governor of RBI Osborne Smith was appointed. Professionally, he worked as a banker. Succeeding him were several bureaucrats taken mainly from the Indian Civil Service until B.N Adarkar in the year 1970. Although Adarkar was an economist, yet it was during his time that there was a stop-gap session for a long period of 42 days. However, appointing him was not just for bestowing him the signing authority. But, he was conferred with a lot of work.

However, the largest shift in this trend was noticed in 1977. During this year, M Narasimham was appointed as the first cadre officer for looking after the reserve bank of the country. It was until Shaktikanta Das that all the successors of Narasimham were famous economists. They include I.G. Patel, Manmohan Singh, C Rangarajan, and Bimal Jalan. During this period, some retired IAS officers too were authorized as the Governor of RBI. They were: R.N. Malhotra, Venkitaraman, Reddy and Subbarao. All the four of them had come from an economics background.

The Finance Minister of the Union has commented, “Shaktikanta Das has been a very senior and experienced civil servant. He spent almost his entire career in the management of finances and economic management of the country. I think he has the right credentials, he has been extremely professional and he has worked under various governments.”

Tenure and controversy of Shaktikanta Das

Previously, Shaktikanta Das served as a cadre of IAS officer in Tamil Nadu. When he was the economic affairs secretary in 2016, a controversy cropped up in between. The controversy was regarding the allotment of land to one of the US company that worked in Tamil Nadu. On one hand, the US Company received 100 acres of land which is almost 50 kms from Chennai in the year 2007. They had captured the land at a value that was applicable in the 1970s. However, the matter was soon settled by P Chidambaram who pointed out charges of unequal allotment of land.

The Government of Modi has given Shaktikanta Das a time period of five years. Lastly, his predecessors too were given a tenure of three years. On one hand, Rajan did not extend his period, on the other hand, Patel resigned much before his tenure came to an end. For Shaktikanta Das, he would continue working in office for the upcoming Government at the Centre.

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