List Of RBI Governors From 1935 To 2022 With Facts

List Of RBI Governors

Last Updated: 23 April 2022

Before we get into the list of RBI Governors of India, let’s have a quick intro to the Governors of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The Reserve Bank of India is India’s central bank and regulatory body responsible for the regulation of the Indian banking system. It is under the ownership of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.

It is responsible for the issue and supply of the Indian Rupee (₹) and manages the country’s main payment systems and works to promote its economic development. RBI was established on 1st April 1935 in Kolkata under the RBI Act, 1934, and was formed with the recommendation of the “Hilton Young Commission”.

RBI consists of the following:

  • Governor: 1
  • Deputy Governor: 4
  • Executive Directors: 15

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India is the Chief Executive Officer of India’s Central Bank and the Ex-Officio Chair of its Central Board of Directors.

Indian Rupee (₹) currency notes, issued by the Reserve Bank of India, bear the Governor’s signature. Since its establishment in 1935 by the Government of India, the RBI has been headed by twenty-five (25) Governors.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India is a member of the Strategic Policy Group headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. It is a crucial wing of the National Security Council.

Fascinating Facts


  • The inaugural officeholder was a British Banker, Sir Osborne Smith, while Sir C. D. Deshmukh was the first native Indian Governor.
  • Sir C. D. Deshmukh is the first Indian RBI Governor and the first Governor after India’s Independence.
  • Sir Benegal Rama Rau is the longest-serving governor, holding the office for 7 Years 197 Days, while Amitav Ghosh’s 20 Days term is the shortest.
  • The term of office typically runs for three years and can, in some cases, be extended for another two years.
  • The Reserve Bank of India’s fifteenth governor, Dr. Manmohan Singh, later became India’s thirteenth Prime Minister.
  • Raghuram Rajan held the post of Governor of RBI for exactly 3 Years and 0 Days.
  • ₹ 2,50,000 is the official salary of the Governor of RBI.
  • Shaktikanta Das is the twenty-fifth Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 12 December 2018.

List Of RBI Governors


No.GovernorTerm InTerm OutTenureBackground
1Osborne Smith01 Apr
1935
30 Jun
1937
2 Y
90 D
Banker
2James Braid Taylor01 Jul
1937
17 Feb
1943
5 Y
231 D
ICS Officer
3C. D. Deshmukh11 Aug
1943
30 Jun
1949
5 Y
323 D
ICS Officer
4Benegal Rama Rau01 Jul
1949
14 Jan
1957
7 Y
197 D
ICS Officer
5K. G. Ambegaonkar14 Jan
1957
28 Feb
1957
45 DICS Officer
6H. V. R. Iyengar01 Mar
1957
28 Feb
1962
4 Y
364 D
ICS Officer
7P. C. Bhattacharya01 Mar
1962
30 Jun
1967
5 Y
121 D
IAAS Officer
8Lakshmi Kant Jha01 Jul
1967
03 May
1970
2 Y
306 D
ICS Officer
9B. N. Adarkar04 May
1970
15 Jun
1970
42 DEconomist
10Sarukkai Jagannathan16 Jun
1970
19 May
1975
4 Y
337 D
ICS Officer
11N. C. Sen Gupta19 May
1975
19 Aug
1975
92 DICS Officer
12K. R. Puri20 Aug
1975
02 May
1977
1 Y
255 D
LIC Director
13M. Narasimham03 May
1977
30 Nov
1977
211 daysRBI Officer
14I. G. Patel01 Dec
1977
15 Sep
1982
4 Y
288 D
Economist
15Manmohan Singh16 Sep
1982
14 Jan
1985
2 Y
120 D
Economist
16Amitav Ghosh15 Jan
1985
04 Feb
1985
20 DBanker
17R. N. Malhotra04 Feb
1985
22 Dec
1990
5 Y
321 D
IAS Officer
18S. Venkitaramanan22 Dec
1990
21 Dec
1992
1 Y
365 D
IAS Officer
19C. Rangarajan22 Dec
1992
21 Nov
1997
4 Y
334 D
Economist
20Bimal Jalan22 Nov
1997
06 Sep
2003
5 Y
288 D
Economist
21Y. Venugopal Reddy06 Sep
2003
05 Sep
2008
4 Y
365 D
IAS Officer
22D. Subbarao05 Sep
2008
04 Sep
2013
4 Y
364 D
IAS Officer
23Raghuram Rajan04 Sep
2013
04 Sep
2016
3 Y
0 D
Economist
24Urjit Patel04 Sep
2016
10 Dec
2018
2 Y
98 D
Economist
25Shaktikanta Das12 Dec
2018
Incumbent~IAS Officer

List of Current Central Board of Directors of RBI


Facts About RBI Governors


1Osborne Smith (1 April 1935 – 30 June 1937)

  • He served for over 20 years with the Bank of New South Wales and 10 years with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
  • Sir Osborne was the Managing Governor of the Imperial Bank of India before becoming the first RBI Governor.
  • His stewardship of the Imperial Bank won him recognition in banking circles in India.
  • He resigned prior to the completion of his term of office of three and a half years.
  • Sir Osborne did not sign any banknotes during his tenure.

2James Braid Taylor (1 July 1937- 17 February 1943)

  • Sir James Braid Taylor was a member of the Indian Civil Service.
  • He served as a Deputy Governor of the RBI prior to his appointment as the Governor.
  • His stewardship saw the Bank through the war years and the financial experiments it engendered and catalyzed.
  • He governed the bank during the war years and was involved in the decision to move from a silver currency to fiat money.
  • He was closely associated with the preparation and piloting of the Reserve Bank of India Bill.
  • Even though he was the second Governor, his signature was the first to appear on the currency notes of the Indian Rupee.
  • His second term came to an end with his sudden demise.

3C. D. Deshmukh (11 August 1943 – 30 June 1949)

  • Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh was the first Indian to be appointed as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
  • He served as the Finance Minister in the Union Cabinet from 1950 to 1956, the Chairman of UGC from 1956 to 1961, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi from 1962 to 1967.
  • 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 helped the smooth transition of the Bank from a shareholder’s institution to a State-owned organization, when the Reserve Bank of India was nationalized on 1st January 1949.

4Benegal Rama Rau (1 July 1949 – 14 January 1957)

  • He was the longest-serving Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
  • 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 the State Bank of India (SBI: 1 July 1955).
  • Benegal Rau was appointed Chairman of the Bombay Port Trust (1941–1946).
  • He served as the ambassador of India to Japan (1947–1948) and Ambassador of India to the United States (1948–1949).

5K. G. Ambegaonkar (14 January 1957 – 28 February 1957)

  • K. G. Ambegaokar was the fifth Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 14 January 1957 to 28 February 1957.
  • He was a member of the Indian Civil Service and served as Finance Secretary before his appointment as Deputy Governor of the RBI.
  • His tenure was the third-shortest (45 days) after B. N. Adarkar (42 Days) and Amitav Ghosh (20 Days).
  • Compared to the latter two Governors Ambegaonkar’s signature as RBI Governor does not appear on any Indian Rupee note.
  • His signature as Finance Secretary appeared on the second, third, and fourth Rupee one notes issued after independence.

Related: List Of All Prime Ministers Of India With Photo (1947 to 2022)


6H. V. R. Iyengar (1 March 1957 – 28 February 1962)

  • He served as the Chairman of the State Bank of India before being appointed as the Governor of the Reserve Bank.
  • His tenure witnessed India’s shift to a decimal coinage system from the earlier system of pies, paise, and anna systems.
  • H. V. R. Iyengar was invested as a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in the 1941 New Year Honours.
  • During his tenure, variable cash reserve ratio and selective credit control were introduced for the first time in India.
  • He received the Padma Vibhushan, India`s second-highest civilian honor from the Government of India in 1962.

7P. C. Bhattacharya (1 March 1962 – 30 June 1967)

  • He was a member of the Indian Audits and Accounts Service (IA&AS).
  • Bhattacharya was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1946 New Year Honours.
  • He served as Secretary in the Finance Ministry and later as Chairman of the State Bank of India before his appointment as the Governor.
  • As an RBI Governor, he strongly opposed the nationalizing of private banks in India, by writing a letter to the then Deputy Prime Minister Morarji Desai warning about the costs of nationalizing the banks saying it was not desirable.
  • During his tenure, the size of the currency notes of denominations 5, 10, and 100 was reduced in size to cut the cost of production, which makes these notes relatively rare in the collectors market.
  • Bhattacharya’s tenure saw the establishment of the Industrial Development Bank of India in 1964, the Agricultural Refinance Corporation in 1963, and the Unit Trust of India in 1964.
  • The banknotes signed by P C Bhattacharya have very high resale value in the grey market because of their rarity.

8Lakshmi Kant Jha (1 July 1967 – 3 May 1970)

  • During his tenure the Indian Rupee notes of denominations of Indian Rupee symbol ₹ 2, 5, 10, and 100, commemorating the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi were released on 2nd October 1969, these notes bear his signature, both in English and Hindi.
  • The signature in Hindi, the official language of the Government of India, appeared on the currency notes for the first time during his stewardship of the RBI.
  • His tenure saw the nationalization of 14 major commercial banks, the introduction of social controls over commercial banks, the establishment of the National Credit Council, and the introduction of the Lead Bank Scheme to facilitate credit delivery.
  • He served as India’s ambassador to the United States during the crucial period 1970 – 1973 when India fought a war with Pakistan and liberated Bangladesh.
  • Lakshmi Kant was the governor of Jammu and Kashmir state from 3 July 1973 to 22 February 1981.

9B. N. Adarkar (4 May 1970 – 15 June 1970)

  • His term was the second-shortest (42 Days) after Amitav Ghosh who had served for only 20 Days.
  • His term was short since he was filling in as interim before S. Jaganathan took over.
  • Adarkar was an economist and had served in the office of the Economic Adviser of the Government of India.
  • In March 1947 before Indian independence, he was appointed by the Government of India to create a health insurance scheme for industrial workers.
  • A year later the report he submitted became the basis for the Employment State Insurance (ESI) Act of 1948.

10Sarukkai Jagannathan (16 June 1970 – 19 May 1975)

  • Prior to becoming the Governor of the RBI, he was India’s Executive Director at the World Bank.
  • The oil shock of the 1970s was re-elected by a very active monetary policy during his tenure.
  • The Credit Guarantee Corporation of India and State Level Bankers’ Committees were established during his tenure.
  • Indian Rupee notes of ₹20 and ₹50 denomination were introduced, and these had his signature.
  • He relinquished office to take up the post of India’s Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund.

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11N. C. Sen Gupta (19 May 1975 – 19 August 1975)

  • Nirmal Chandra Sen Gupta was the eleventh Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 19 May 1975 to 19 August 1975.
  • Before being appointed as the Governor of RBI, he was the secretary to the Department of Banking of the Ministry of Finance.
  • Even though his tenure was short (92 Days), his signature appears on the Indian rupee note of 1,000 denomination.
  • ₹1,000 was the only note that bears his signature.

12K. R. Puri (20 August 1975 – 2 May 1977)

  • He was the Chairman and Managing Director of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) prior to his appointment as Governor of the RBI.
  • His signature appears on one of the last Indian rupee notes of the ₹1,000 denomination.
  • These notes were demonetized in 1978 and were re-introduced after a period of 22 years in 2000.
  • During his tenure, the Regional Rural Banks were set up.
  • The twenty-point economic program was announced and operationalized and a new money supply series was introduced during his tenure.

13M. Narasimham (3 May 1977 – 30 November 1977)

  • He is often referred to as the father of banking reforms in India for his contributions to the banking and financial sector in India.
  • Some of the reforms attributed to his recommendations include changes to banking structures, the introduction of private sector banks, creation of asset recovery funds, rural banking, changes to capital adequacy and provisioning standards, technology up-gradation, and modernization of public sector banks, and capital market-linked banking reforms.
  • Narasimham also served as India’s executive director at the World Bank and later at the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.
  • He served as the secretary in the Ministry of Finance, and as the additional secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs.
  • He was awarded India’s second-highest civilian honor Padma Vibhushan in 2000.

14I. G. Patel (1 December 1977 – 15 September 1982)

  • Indraprasad Gordhanbhai Patel was an Indian economist and a civil servant.
  • He served as the Director of the London School of Economics, making him the first person of Indian origin to head a higher education institute in the United Kingdom.
  • He also served as Chairperson of the Board of Governors from 1996 to 2001 at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
  • I. G. Patel is well known for his formidable intellectual powers in the select company of central bankers and economic statesmen such as the “Committee of the Thirty” set up by the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.
  • Mr. Patel served as the Deputy Administrator at United Nations Development Programme headquarters in New York.

15Manmohan Singh (16 September 1982 – 14 January 1985)

  • Manmohan Singh is an Indian economist, academic, and politician who was the 13th Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014.
  • He is the longest-serving Prime Minister of India after Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi and the first Sikh Prime Minister of India.
  • Singh was the Chief Economic Advisor (1972–1976) and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission (1985–1987).
  • He was the secretary-general of the South Commission, an independent economic policy think tank headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland from 1987 to November 1990.
  • He also served as the Finance Minister of India from 21 June 1991 to 15 May 1996.

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16Amitav Ghosh (15 January 1985 – 4 February 1985)

  • Amitav Ghosh is the shortest-serving Governor of RBI for 20 Days from 15th January to 4th February 1985.
  • Before being appointed as the Governor of RBI, Ghosh was the chairman of Allahabad Bank, Director of the IDBI Bank, and the governing body of the National Institute of Bank Management.
  • Amitav Ghosh had been appointed as the RBI Deputy Governor before being appointed as the Governor.
  • He died at the age of 90.

17R. N. Malhotra (4 February 1985 – 22 December 1990)

  • Malhotra was a member of the Indian Administrative Service.
  • He had served as the Secretary of Finance and as India’s Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before his appointment as Governor of the RBI.
  • The Discount and Finance House of India, and the National Housing Bank were set up, and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research was inaugurated during his tenure.
  • In the field of rural finance, the Service Area Approach was adopted as an approach to catalyze the flow of credit through commercial banks.
  • During his tenure, the 500-rupee note was introduced, He signed the 8hq A 50 rupees note in 1986.
  • In 1990 he was the recipient of the Padma Bhushan Award.
  • His wife Anna Rajam Malhotra was the first woman member of the Indian Administrative Service.

18S. Venkitaramanan (22 December 1990 – 21 December 1992)

  • He served as the Finance Secretary in the Ministry of Finance from 1985 to 1989.
  • Venkitaramanan is seen by many as a brilliant crisis manager of the balance of payments crisis in India in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • His timely and decisive action laid the groundwork for India to salvage the crisis, at a time when India’s foreign-exchange reserves had almost depleted.
  • His term saw India adopt the IMF’s stabilization program where the Rupee underwent a devaluation and the launch of the program of economic reforms.
  • During his tenure as RBI Governor, the infamous Harshad Mehta scam was exposed by Sucheta Dalal.

19C. Rangarajan (22 December 1992 – 21 November 1997)

  • He is the former Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.
  • 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.
  • Rangarajan is the Chairman of the Madras School of Economics, former President of the Indian Statistical Institute, and the Founding Chairman of the CR Rao Advanced Institute of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.
  • He served as the Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad and a professor at the Ahmedabad University.
  • Chakravarthi Rangarajan received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. His thesis was titled “Variability of Demand Deposits”.
  • He served as a Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1982 to 1991, after which he served as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India between 22 December 1992 and 21 December 1997.

20Bimal Jalan (22 November 1997 – 6 September 2003)

  • Dr. Bimal Jalan served as Chief Economic Advisor to the 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 was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India for two terms.
  • During his tenure, India weathered the Asian Crisis and has seen the consolidation of the gains of Liberalization and Economic Reforms.
  • This period has seen a slew of measures to strengthen the banking sector, establish new institutions and introduce new instruments.
  • The period has been characterized by the strengthening of the balance of payments and forex position, low inflation, and soft interest rates.
  • During his tenure, the Indian Rupee note of 1000 denomination was introduced

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21Y. Venugopal Reddy (6 September 2003 – 5 September 2008)

  • Yaga Venugopal Reddy is an Indian economist and a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1964 batch belonging to the Andhra Pradesh cadre.
  • In 2010, he was awarded India’s second-highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan.
  • He was the first to use the term “Financial Inclusion” in April 2005 in his Annual Policy Statement as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.
  • He banned the use of bank loans for the purchase of raw land, sharply curtailed securitizations, and derivatives, and essentially prohibited off-balance-sheet financing.
  • Y. V. Reddy increased risk weightings on commercial buildings and shopping mall construction and increased bank reserve requirements.

22D. Subbarao (5 September 2008 – 4 September 2013)

  • Subbarao was a Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh State Finance Corporation (1986-88) before being appointed as the Governor of RBI.
  • He was noted for encouraging first-generation entrepreneurs to invest in industry and service sectors.
  • He worked as a lead economist in the World Bank (1999-2004) where his work involved encouraging public expenditure reforms in developing countries.
  • D. Subbarao also managed the World Bank’s flagship study on decentralization in East Asia.
  • After stepping down from RBI, he was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow first at the National University of Singapore and later at the University of Pennsylvania.

23Raghuram Rajan (4 September 2013 – 4 September 2016)

  • Between 2003 and 2006, Dr. Rajan was the Chief Economist and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • During his tenure at the RBI, he became the Vice-Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements.
  • In 2003, Rajan received the inaugural Fischer Black Prize, given every two years by the American Finance Association to the financial economist younger than 40 who has made the most significant contribution to the theory and practice of finance.
  • At the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole conference in 2005, Rajan warned about the growing risks in the financial system and proposed policies that would reduce such risks.
  • During the financial crisis of 2007–2008, Rajan’s views came to be seen as prescient and he was extensively interviewed for the Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job (2010).
  • His book, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, won the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award in 2010.

24Urjit Patel (4 September 2016 – 10 December 2018)

  • Urjit currently serves as Chairman of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, additional director of Britannia Industries, and independent director of John Cockerill India.
  • After obtaining his Ph.D., Patel joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1990, where he worked on the US, India, Bahamas, and Myanmar desks till 1995.
  • During his tenure, the Government of India demonetized the ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series, with the stated intention of curbing corruption, black money, fake currency, and terrorism from 9 November 2016.
  • Dr. Patel chaired the Expert Committee to Revise and Strengthen the Monetary Policy Framework. Representing India, he actively participated in steering the signing into force of the inter-governmental treaty and the Inter-Central Bank Agreement (ICBA) among the BRICS nations, which led to the establishment of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), a swap line framework among the central banks of these countries.
  • Dr. Patel has several publications in the areas of Indian macroeconomics, monetary policy, public finance, the Indian financial sector, international trade, and regulatory economics.
  • He resigned from his post on 10 December 2018, being the first RBI governor to state personal reasons as a driving factor for resigning.

25Shaktikanta Das (12 December 2018 – Incumbent)

  • Immediately after Shaktikanta Das was appointed as the Governor of the RBI, he was acting as a Member of the 15th Finance Commission and G20 Sherpa of India.
  • Das has held important positions in the Central and State Governments in the areas of Finance, Taxation, Industries, Infrastructure, etc.
  • During his long tenure in the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, he was directly associated with the preparation of as many as 8 Union Budgets.
  • Shaktikanta has also served as India’s Alternate Governor in the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), New Development Bank (NDB), and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • He has represented India in international fora like the IMF, G20, BRICS, SAARC, etc.
  • He was conferred the ‘Central Banker of the Year, Asia-Pacific 2020’ award by the London-based magazine-The Banker for his efforts to make the banking system more robust.
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