List of all Reserve Bank of India Governors

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which is responsible for controlling the monetary policy of the Indian Rupee was established on April 1, 1935. Initially, the RBI was started as a private shareholder bank that was later nationalised on January 1, 1949, following the Independence of India. The Governor of the RBI serves as the Chief Executive of India’s Central Bank and also as the ex-officio chairperson of the Central Board of Directors. Since the establishment of the bank in 1935 by the British, the Reserve Bank of India has been headed by 25 governors till now.

1.Sir Osborne A. Smith ( 1st April 1935 – 30th June 1937)

Sir Osborne Smith was a professional banker. He was the first Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Sir Osborne served the Bank of New South Wales for 20 years and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for over a decade. He had a very different point of view on policy issues like exchange rates and interest rates with that of the Government at that time. Sir Osborne did not sign any bank note during his tenure.

2. Sir James Braid Taylor ( 1st July 1937 – 17th February 1943)

Sir James Braid Taylor, the successor of Sir Osborne Smith served as the second governor of the Reserve Bank of India holding office until his death. Sir James was a member of the Indian Civil Service and served as a Deputy Controller in the Currency Department of the Government of India for more than 10 years. He also became the Controller of Currency, and additionally secretary in the Finance Department. Sir James was the second governor of the RBI but he was the first person whose signature appeared on the currency notes of India.

3. Sir Chintaman D. Deshmukh (11th August 1943 – 30th June 1949)

Sir Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh was the first Indian to hold the position of the governor of the Reserve Bank of India. He joined the bank in 1939 and was appointed the governor in 1943. As Governor, Sir Deshmukh helped in establishing the Industrial Finance Corporation. He also focused on the promotion of rural credit in India. It was during his time that the Governing Body of NCAER, the National Council of Applied Economic Research, was founded in New Delhi in 1956 which was India’s first independent economic policy institute.

4. Sir Benegal Rama Rau (1st July 1949 – 14th January 1957)

Sir Benegal Rama Rau was also a member of the Indian Civil Services who served the longest term as the tenure of his service lasted for nearly 8 years. It was during his time that the commencement of the Planning Era took place. Innovative initiatives were also taken in the spheres of co-operative credit and industrial finance. The Imperial Bank of India was transformed into the State Bank of India in his tenure.

5. K.G. Ambegaonkar (14th January 1957 – 28th February 1957)

K. G. Ambegaonkar, the fifth Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, had a short period of 45 days only. Member of Indian Civil Services, Ambegaokar also served as the Financial Secretary and Deputy Governor of the RBI. He wass also a governor whose signature did not appear on the Indian Rupee note.

6. H.V.R. Iyenger (1st March 1957 – 28th February 1962)

Haravu Venkatanarasimh Varadaraja Iyengar is the sixth governor of the Reserve Bank of India under whose reign the Indian coinage system shifted from pies, paise, and anna to decimal coinage. Iyenger was also a civil services servant before becoming the Governor of the RBI.

7. P.C. Bhattacharya (1st March 1962 – 30th June 1967)

It was during the time of P.C. Bhattacharya, the seventh governor of the RBI, that the establishment of the Industrial Development Bank of India took place in 1964. The Agricultural Refinance Corporation and the Unit Trust of India were also established during this time in 1963 and 1964 respectively.

8. L.K. Jha (1st July 1967 – 3rd May 1970)

During the stewardship of L. K. Jha, the Indian Rupee notes appeared in the dominations of Rs. 2, 5,10 and 100 commemorating the birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi. The notes bear his signature both in Hindi and English. Hindi, which was the official language of the Government of India, appeared on the currency notes for the first time ever at this time.