Reserve Bank of India Governors List From 1935 to Present: Name, Eligibility, Salary, Tenure

By Apoorva Gupta|Updated : June 3rd, 2021

Reserve bank of India is the regulatory body of the Indian Banking sector. It is also known as The Bank of Bankers. In almost every banking exam such as SBI PO, SBI Clerk, IBPS PO, IBPS Clerk, LIC, NIACL, RRB, etc. questions based on the Reserve Bank of India are asked. So, to aid you in your preparation we have written this article. 

The Reserve bank of India is headed by a governor. As per Section 8 of the RBI Act, 1934, the governors and the deputy governors are to be appointed by the central government. Till now, there have a total of 25 Governors, with Shri Shaktikant Das currently holding the office. In this article, We have compiled a list of all the past governors as well as the current, along with their first day of assuming office and some interesting facts.

Table of Content

Reserve bank of India is the regulatory body of the Indian Banking sector. It is also known as The Bank of Bankers. In almost every banking exam such as SBI PO, SBI Clerk, IBPS PO, IBPS Clerk, LIC, NIACL, RRB, etc. questions based on the Reserve Bank of India are asked. So, to aid you in your preparation we have written this article. 

The Reserve bank of India is headed by a governor. As per Section 8 of the RBI Act, 1934, the governors and the deputy governors are to be appointed by the central government. Till now, there have a total of 25 Governors, with Shri Shaktikant Das currently holding the office. In this article, We have compiled a list of all the past governors as well as the current, along with their first day of assuming office and some interesting facts. 

Major Facts About Reserve Bank of India Governors

Eligibility for RBI Governor

  • The RBI Governor must be graduated from a recognized university. Also, the RBI Governor should have the vision and knowledge to regulate the monetary policy for the betterment of the country's economy.
  • A candidate above 35 years old is eligible to become the RBI Governor but he/she should not be a member of the parliament or state legislature. 
  • If the person had worked for these prestigious institutes including IMF/ World Bank, Chairman or General Manager of a Bank, Reputed Financial or Banking organization, and Ministry of Finance (GOI) then he is eligible to become the head of the Reserve Bank of India.

Power of RBI Governor

  • RBI Governor is the head of all the banks.
  • RBI has the power to control and influence the stock market and micro/macroeconomics respectively.
  • Vested for the signature on the Indian Currency.
  • Also maintains the country's Credit System.

Salary of RBI Governor

The basic salary of the RBI Governor is 2.5 lakh which is effective from 01-January-2016.  

Work Tenure of RBI Governor

The tenure length of the RBI Governor is 3 Years only. However, Benegal Rama Rao served the longest tenure for 7 years as RBI Governor.   

Roles & Responsibilities of RBI Governors

  • RBI Governor is responsible to balance the stability of monetary policy in the country as RBI Governor is the head of the apex financial institute. 
  • RBI Governor plays a very important role in regulating and formulating the policies of the Reserve Bank of India.
  • RBI Governor is also accountable to issue the license for the opening of private & foreign banks.
  • RBI Governor is vested to monitor the interest rates on deposits and advances of the country.
  • The country's financial system is regulated & supervised by the Governor.

List of RBI Governors of India

The below list of Reserve Bank of India Governors from 1935 to the present includes the tenure and interesting facts.

Name of the Governor

TenureInteresting Facts
Sir Osborne Smith01-04-1935 to 30-06-1937Sir Osborne Smith was the first Governor of the Reserve Bank. He served for over 20 years with the Bank of New South Wales and 10 years with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia before coming to India. 
Sir James Taylor01-07-1937 to 17-02-1943Sir James Braid Taylor was closely associated with the preparation and piloting of the Reserve Bank of India Bill. He served as Deputy Governor of the Bank prior to his appointment as the Governor.
Sir C D Deshmukh11-08-1943 to 30-06-1949Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh was the first Indian Governor of the Bank. He helped the smooth transition of the Bank from a shareholder's institution to a State-owned organization, when the Bank was nationalized on 1st January 1949. 
Sir Benegal Rama Rau01-07-1949 to 14-01-1957Sir Benegal Rama Rau was the longest-serving Governor of the Bank. Prior to joining the Bank, he served as the Indian Ambassador to the United States. 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.
K.G Ambegaonkar14-01-1957 to 28-02-1957K. G. Ambegaokar served as Finance Secretary prior to his appointment as Deputy Governor. On the resignation of B. Rama Rau, he was appointed as the interim Governor till H V R Iyengar could take over. K.G Ambegaonkar did not sign any banknotes.
H V R Iyengar01-03-1957 to 28-02-1962H V R Iyengar served for a brief while as the Chairman of State Bank of India, before being appointed as the Governor of the Reserve Bank. During his term, In 1960, Bank acquired the power to enforce amalgamation and delicensing of Banks. In the same year, Deposit Insurance for bank deposits was also introduced.  
P C Bhattacharya01-03-1962 to 30-06-1967P C Bhattacharya served as Finance Secretary and as Chairman of SBI prior to his appointment as Governor. His tenure saw the establishment of the Industrial Development Bank of India (1964), and the establishment of the Agricultural Refinance Corporation (1963) and the Unit Trust of India (1964).
L K Jha01-07-1967 to 03-05-1970L K Jha served as Secretary to the Prime Minister, prior to his appointment as Governor. During his tenure, 14 major commercial banks were nationalized in 1969, a step that did not have the endorsement of the Reserve Bank. Amongst other developments, gold controls were brought on a statutory basis; Deposit Insurance was in principle extended to Cooperative banks; the Lead Bank Scheme was introduced to facilitate credit delivery. 
B.N Adarkar04-05-1970 to 15-06-1970B.N Adarkar held the post of Governor for only 12 days. He held office during the interregnum till S Jagannathan could take over as Governor. He also served as India's Executive Director at the IMF and as Deputy Governor, he played an active role in the establishment of the National Institute of Bank Management.
S Jagannathan16-06-1970 to 19-05-1975S Jagannathan had served as India's Executive Director at the World Bank, prior to being appointed as the Governor and relinquished office to take up the post of the Indian Executive Director at the IMF. His tenure of office was characterized by the establishment of the Credit Guarantee Corporation of India, the setting up of State Level Bankers' Committees, and the shift to floating rates regime.
N C Sen Gupta19-05-1975 to 19-08-1975N C Sen Gupta was appointed Governor for three months till K R Puri could assume office.
K R Puri 20-08-1975 to 02-05-1977K R Puri served as the Chairman and Managing Director of the Life Insurance Corporation of India before his appointment as Governor. Rural Regional Banks were up during his tenure. 
M Narasimham02-05-1977 to 30-11-1977M Narasimham was the first and so far the only Governor to be appointed from the Reserve Bank cadre, having joined the Bank as a Research Officer in the Economics Department.
Dr. I G Patel01-12-1977 to 15-09-1982Dr. I G Patel an economist and administrator joined the Reserve Bank as Governor after serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and thereafter at the UNDP. His tenure witnessed the demonetisation of high denomination notes as well as the "gold auctions" conducted by the Bank on behalf of the Government of India.
Dr. Manmohan Singh16-09-1982 to 14-01-1985Dr Manmohan Singh, academic and administrator, had served as Secretary Finance as well as Member Secretary of the Planning Commission prior to his appointment as Governor, During his tenure, comprehensive legal reforms were carried out.
A Ghosh15-01-1985 to 04-02-1985A Ghosh was the Deputy Governor of the Bank since 1982 when he was appointed Governor for a brief period of 15 days till R N Malhotra could take over. 
R N Malhotra04-02-1985 to 22-12-1990R.N. Malhotra served as Secretary, Finance, and Executive Director of the IMF, prior to his appointment as Governor. The Discount and Finance House of India, the National Housing Bank were set up and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research inaugurated.
Venkitaramanan22-12-1990 to 21-12-1992S Venkitaramanan had served as Finance Secretary and adviser to the Government of Karnataka prior to his appointment as Governor. His adroit management saw the country tide over the balance of payments crisis.
Dr. C Rangarajan22-12-1992 to 21-11-1997Dr. C Rangarajan held charge as Deputy Governor for over a decade before appointed as Governor. He was also a member of the Planning Commission and a member of the Tenth Finance Commission.

Dr. Bimal Jalan
22-11-1997 to 06-09-2003Dr. Bimal Jalan served as Chief Economic Advisor to 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 had also represented India on the Executive Boards of the IMF and the World Bank.
Dr. Y V Reddy06-09-2003 to 05-09-2008Dr. Reddy has made significant policy contributions in the areas of financial sector reforms; trade finance; monitoring of balance of payments and exchange rate; external commercial borrowings; center-state financial relations; regional planning; and public enterprise reform and has been closely associated with institution building.
Dr. D. Subbarao05-09-2008 to 04-09-13Dr. D. Subbarao took over on September 5, 2008, as the 22nd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Dr. Subbarao has been appointed for a three-year term. He was a topper in the All India Civil Service examination for entry into Indian Administrative Services and Indian Foreign Services in 1972. He was one of the first IITians to join the civil service.
Dr. Raghuram Rajan04-09-2013 to 04-09-2016Dr. Raghuram Rajan assumed charge as the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India on September 4, 2013. Prior to this, he was the Chief Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, and the Eric J. Gleacher Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago's Booth School. He has co-authored Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists with Luigi Zingales in 2003. He then wrote Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, for which he was awarded the Financial Times-Goldman Sachs prize for the best business book in 2010.
Dr. Urjit R. Patel04-09-2016 to 11-12-2018Dr. Urjit R. Patel assumed charge as the 24th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India after serving as Deputy Governor since January 2013. 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.
Shri Shaktikanta Das12-12-2018 till presentShri Shaktikanta Das, IAS Retd., former Secretary, Department of Revenue and Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India assumed charge as the 25th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India effective December 12, 2018. Immediately prior to his current assignment, he was acting as Member, 15th Finance Commission, and G20 Sherpa of India.
source: https://m.rbi.org.in/Scripts/governors.aspx

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Apoorva GuptaApoorva GuptaMember since May 2019
Computer Science Graduate, IIIT 2016
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  • Reserve bank of India is the regulatory body of the Indian Banking sector.

  • Governors and deputy governors are to be appointed by the Central Government.

  • Shri Shaktikanta Das is the current Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

  • Benegal Rama Rao served the longest tenure for 7 years as RBI Governor.  

  • The basic salary of the RBI Governor is 2.5 lakh which is effective from 01-January-2016.  

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