Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das was honored with the 2023 Governor of the Year award by international publication Central Banking on Wednesday. Das was recognized for guiding financial markets through the turbulent times of the pandemic and the crippling effects of the Ukraine war.
According to the publication, “The RBI governor has cemented key reforms, overseen world-leading payments innovations and guided India through difficult times with a steady hand and well-crafted twists and turns.”
Former governor Raghuram Rajan was the first from the country to be awarded the title back in 2015.
The publication hailed Das, 66, for his consistent leadership through difficult times, including the collapse of a major non-bank corporation, 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 is unlikely to be free of challenges, but as Das faces the remainder of his second term he can be proud of his great achievements to date,” the award reads.
The Central Banking Publications is a public policy and financial markets specialist financial publisher with a focus on central banks and international financial institutions.
“A war effort must and will be waged to combat the virus, involving both conventional and unconventional measures in continuous combat-ready mode,” Das told the publications.
“Life in the time of Covid-19 was one of unprecedented loss and isolation. However, it is worth remembering that difficult times never last; only hard people and hard institutions endure,” he added.
The publication said the Indian economy weathered one of the biggest threats it has ever faced with relatively minimal scarring. All RBI governors face the difficulty of working with governments that have different priorities from the central bank, and most will face crises during their tenure. But few have had to face challenges on the scale that Das has encountered.
This ensured that most of RBI’s COVID-19 interventions had a “sunset clause” and targeted liquidity to key sectors, FX and state governments with cheaper overdraft facilities, the publication said.
The publication also said that RBI has been actively involved in managing the reference rate and other leverages at its disposal since the turn of the pandemic. First, the Monetary Policy Committee, which has raised policy rates by a whopping 250 basis points to 6.50 percent since May 2022, as the panel missed inflation data for 10 of the 12 months of the year.
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