Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday was awarded the ‘Governor of the Year’ Award for 2023 by international publication ‘Central Banking’. Das was awarded for heading the financial markets through the turbulent periods of the pandemic and the crippling impact of the Ukraine war.
The publication said, “The RBI governor has cemented critical reforms, overseen world-leading payments innovation and steered India through difficult times with a steady hand and well-crafted turn of phrase.”
Former governor Raghuram Rajan was the first from the country to be awarded the title back in 2015.
The publication praised the 66-year-old Das for his steady leadership during challenging times, including the collapse of a major non-banking firm, the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inflationary impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“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,” the award citation said.
The Central Banking publications is a financial publisher specialising in public policy and financial markets, with an emphasis on central banks, and international financial institutions.
“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 to the publications.
“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,” he added.
The publication said that the Indian economy came through one of the greatest threats it has ever faced with relatively minimal scarring. All RBI governors face the difficulty of working with governments that have different priorities than the central bank, and most will have to overcome crises during their tenure. But few have had to contend with challenges on the scale that Das has met.
Das ensured that most of the RBI’s COVID-19 interventions had a “sunset clause” and provided targeted liquidity to vital sectors, foreign exchange, and state governments with more favourable overdraft facilities, the publication said.
The publication also said since the turn of the pandemic the RBI has been actively engaged in managing the benchmark lending rate and other levers at its disposal. To start with, the Monetary Policy Committee, and has since May 2022 jacked up key policy rates by a whopping 250 basis points to 6.50 per cent as the panel missed the inflation prints in 10 of the 12 months of the year.
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