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HomeNewsRBI's Shaktikanta Das bags Governor of the Year award

RBI’s Shaktikanta Das bags Governor of the Year award

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das has been awarded the Governor of the Year award by Central Banking. Das has helped maneuver the ship as it faced multiple obstacles since his appointment, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war being the two major tests.

Central Banking Publications is a financial publisher specialising in public policy and financial markets, with an emphasis on central banks, and international financial institutions. RBI’s former governor Raghuram Rajan was conferred the title back in 2015.

The Indian central bank, since the turn of Covid-19, has been actively engaged in managing the benchmark lending rate and other levers at its disposal. To start with, the rate-setting panel of the RBI, the Monetary Policy Committee, held an emergency meeting and hiked rates by 75 bps.

“A war effort has to be mounted, and is being mounted, to combat the virus, involving both conventional and unconventional measures in continuous battle-ready mode,” Das said in the live-streamed address. “Life in the time of Covid-19 has been one of unprecedented loss and isolation. Yet, it is worthwhile to remember that tough times never last; only tough people and tough institutions do,” Central Banking said.

“The RBI has also made judicious use of its reserves to cushion the impact of the major shocks India has faced. Although it is an inflation targeter, like many central banks in emerging markets, the RBI takes a broad view of stability, managing the exchange rate to prevent violent swings,” it added.

The publication conferring the award notes that India’s GDP has risen around 90% in the last ten years, and GDP per capita is up around 70%, giving the average Indian an income equivalent to $2,400 per year, $1,000 more than in 2010.

While poverty is still widespread, it has fallen from 55% to 16% in the space of 15 years on the United Nations’ multidimensional metric.“It was in managing [the Covid] crisis that Das had perhaps his greatest impact, appearing as a voice of calm amid the fear, and steering the RBI deftly between intense political pressures on one side and economic disaster on the other,” the publication notes.

“An economy as complex as India’s will likely never be free from challenges but, as Das faces up to the remainder of his second term, he can take pride in major achievements so far”

— Central Banking

India under Das saw the flourishing of digital payments in the form of UPI with India now becoming the largest real-time payments market. India recorded nearly 50 billion real-time transactions in 2021. The IMF says UPI has averaged growth rates of 160% annually since its launch in 2016.

Das has been an active opponent of private cryptocurrencies in India since they shot into fame, openly terming them a threat to financial stability in the country. The RBI recently rolled out the Digital Rupee, India’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), a digital token representing legal tender and is considered fiat money.

Das, 66, was given the top post at the RBI back in December 2018, succeeding Urjit Patel who had left the post abruptly, citing ‘personal reasons’. Das, a veteran Tamil Nadu cadre officer, was also instrumental in establishing the MPC. A 1980 batch Tamil Nadu batch IAS officer, Das took charge as Union revenue secretary in June 2014.

As the economic affairs secretary, Das was the key man behind the planning and execution of demonetisation drive.

Das was also the brain behind rolling out the Goods and Services Tax (GST). He was instrumental in pushing GST soon after the Modi government took charge.

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