Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), S. Venkitaramanan, breathed his last at the age of 92 on November 18, succumbing to age-related issues at a private hospital in Chennai.
Early Life and Education
- Born on January 28, 1931, in Tirumayam of Pudukottai district, Venkitaramanan was not only academically inclined but also had a diverse educational background.
- He earned a post-graduate degree in physics from the University College Thiruvananthapuram. Subsequently, in 1968, he obtained a post-graduate degree in management from the Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S.
The Journey in Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
- He joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1953. His administrative acumen was complemented by a keen understanding of economic and financial intricacies.
RBI Governorship During a Crucial Period
- Assuming the role of RBI Governor in December 1990, Venkitaramanan faced the daunting task of navigating a severe balance of payments crisis.
- His tenure coincided with rapid changes in the Central government, requiring him to exhibit determination and courage in the face of economic challenges.
Leadership Amidst Crisis
- Venkitaramanan’s two-year tenure witnessed the multi-crore securities scam and persistent calls for his resignation.
- However, the then Union Finance Minister Manmohan Singh provided a clean chit in Parliament, acknowledging Venkitaramanan’s steadfast performance in the face of adversity.
Reformer and Visionary
- Beyond crisis management, Venkitaramanan’s legacy includes significant contributions to banking sector reforms.
- Under his leadership, the exchange rate management system underwent a pivotal shift towards a dual exchange rate regime.
- His term also marked the adoption of the IMF’s stabilisation programme, involving rupee devaluation and the initiation of economic reforms.
Diverse Administrative Roles
- Venkitaramanan’s service extended beyond the RBI. In the early 1990s, he served as Private Secretary to Union Minister C. Subramaniam and played a pivotal role in implementing the Green Revolution programme.
- Additionally, he held significant positions in the Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation (SPIC) from 1977 to 1983.
National and State-Level Contributions
- Venkitaramanan’s commitment to public service was further evident in his role as an Adviser on economic affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure.
- Additionally, he served as an Advisor to the Governor in Karnataka during a critical period of President’s rule in May 1989.