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Former RBI Governor S. Venkitaramanan Passed Away At 92


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.

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