RBI Governors List from 1935 to 2023: Name, Eligibility, Powers, Tenure Complete Guide

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Are you preparing for competitive exams and aiming to boost your general knowledge? Understanding the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and its Governors is essential for excelling in exams. This comprehensive guide provides insights into the RBI Governors’ names, powers, eligibility criteria, and much more.

The Central Pillar: Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Establishment and Evolution

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), often referred to as the Central Bank of India, was founded on 1st April 1935 under the RBI Act, of 1934. This establishment was a result of the esteemed “Hilton – Young Commission” recommendation. Initially, the RBI operated as a privately owned bank and underwent nationalization on 1st January 1949, post-independence.

Geographical Transition

While currently headquartered in Mumbai, the RBI had its beginnings in Kolkata and later shifted to Mumbai in 1937. This geographical shift marked a pivotal moment in the bank’s history.

Governance and Leadership

The head of the RBI, commonly known as the governor, is appointed by the Government of India. Over the years, the RBI has seen 25 governors, with Osborne Smith being the inaugural governor in 1935, and Shaktikanta Das presently holding the position.

Monetary Policy Mandate

One of the prime responsibilities entrusted to the RBI is the formulation of monetary policy, a crucial aspect in steering the financial course of the country. As the custodian of India’s monetary affairs, the RBI plays a pivotal role in shaping economic policies and ensuring financial stability.

Shaktikanta Das
Shaktikanta Das (Photo: Wikipedia)

Composition of RBI

  • One- Governor
  • Four- Deputy Governor
  • Fourteen- Directors
  • Two- Government Officers
Read Also: RBI Monetary Policy, Instruments, Objectives, Types, Infographics, & More

RBI Governors List from 1935 to 2023

The list of RBI Governors from 1935 to 2022 is as mentioned below:

Sl. No.RBI Governors NamesTime Period
1Sir Osborne SmithApril 1, 1935 – June 30, 1937
2Sir James Braid TaylorJuly 1, 1937 – February 17, 1943
3Sir C.D. DeshmukhAugust 11, 1943 – June 30, 1949
4Sir Bengal Rama RauJuly 1, 1949 – January 14, 1957
5K.G. AmbegaonkarJanuary 14, 1957 – February 28, 1957
6H.V.R LyengarMarch 1, 1957 – February 28, 1962
7P.C BhattacharyaMarch 1, 1962 – June 30, 1967
8L.K. JhaJuly 1, 1967 – May 3, 1970
9B.N. AdarkarMay 4, 1970 – June 15, 1970
10S. JagannathanJune 16, 1970 – May 19, 1975
11N.C. Sen GuptaMay 19, 1975 – August 19, 1975
12K.R. PuriAugust 20, 1975 – May 2, 1977
13M. NarasimhamMay 3, 1977 – November 30, 1977
14I.G. PatelDecember 1, 1977 – September 15, 1982
15Manmohan SinghSeptember 16, 1982 – January 14, 1985
16Amitav GoshJanuary 15, 1985 – September 4, 1985
17R.N. MalhotraFebruary 4, 1985 – December 22, 1990
18S. VpnldraramananDecember 22, 1990 – December 21, 1992
19C. RangarajanDecember 22, 1992 – November 21, 1997
20Bimal JalanNovember 22, 1997 – September 6, 2003
21Y.V. ReddySeptember 6, 2003 – September 5, 2008
22D. SubbaraoSeptember 5, 2008 – September 4, 2013
23Raghuram G. RajanSeptember 4, 2013 – September 4, 2016
24Urjit Ravindra PatelSeptember 4, 2016 – December 10, 2018
25Shaktikanta DasDecember 12, 2018 – to date

About Shaktikanta Das (Current Governor of RBI)

  • Current Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), assuming office in 2018.
  • 25th Governor of the RBI in the institution’s history.

Previously held key positions

  • Member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission.
  • India’s Sherpa to the G20.
  • Economic Affairs Secretary.
  • Revenue Secretary.
  • Fertilizers Secretary.

Decorated career as an IAS officer

  • Joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1980.
  • Served in various capacities for both Indian and Tamil Nadu governments.

Extensive international experience

  • India’s Alternate Governor in the World Bank, ADB, NDB & AIIB.
  • Represented India in international forums like IMF, G20, BRICS, and SAARC.

Academic Background

  • Holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.
  • Awarded D.Litt. by Utkal University in 2021.

RBI Governors Powers

  • Banker’s Banker: The RBI Governors act as a central bank for other banks.
  • Heads All Commercial Banks: They oversee all commercial banks operating in the country.
  • Influence on Micro and Macro Economies: Governors play a crucial role in shaping the economic landscape.
  • Control Over Stock Market: They exercise authority over the stock market.
  • Signatures on Currency Notes: RBI Governors’ signatures appear on currency notes.
  • Control Over Monetary, Currency, and Credit System: Governors regulate and control these vital financial aspects.
Read Also: Reserve bank of India Functions & Facts with Previous Year Questions

RBI Governors Eligibility

Evolution of Eligibility: A Shift from Civil Services

In its initial phases, the eligibility criterion for RBI Governors was rooted in Indian Civil Services, featuring luminaries like C D Deshmukh and Bengal Rama Rao. However, the landscape has evolved to welcome individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Educational Qualifications

Prospective RBI Governors should hold a Graduate degree, Post Graduate degree, or be a Chartered Accountant. This academic foundation lays the groundwork for a comprehensive understanding of the financial intricacies.

Professional Experience

To ascend to the esteemed position, candidates must have a rich professional background. Eligibility hinges on prior experience in key institutions such as:

  • IMF/ World Bank: International exposure in financial matters.
  • Bank Leadership: Serving as Chairman or General Manager in a bank.
  • Financial Stature: Being associated with reputed financial or banking organizations.
  • Government Insight: Experience in the Ministry of Finance (GOI) adds valuable governmental insights.

Age and Civic Criteria

As a fundamental requirement, aspiring Governors must be 35 years or older. Simultaneously, eligibility comes with the stipulation that the individual:

  • Not a Legislative Member: Should not be a part of the Parliament or State Legislature.
  • Non-Profit Commitment: Must refrain from holding any other office for profit.

This broadened eligibility spectrum ensures that the RBI Governorship welcomes seasoned individuals with a blend of academic prowess, professional acumen, and a commitment to public service.

RBI Governors Appointment

  • The Governor is not appointed by the PMO but is recommended by the Union Finance Minister.

RBI Governors Tenure

  • Initially three years, extendable for two more years.
  • Termination can occur through dismissal by the President or voluntary resignation submitted to the President.

RBI Governors Responsibilities

  • Maintain monetary stability and formulate RBI policies.
  • Issue licenses for new foreign and private banks.
  • Regulate interest rates on advances and deposits.
  • Administer the financial system parameters.
  • Manage external trade and payment, promoting the orderly development of the foreign exchange market.
  • Monitor currency notes and coins supply, issuance, and destruction.
  • Oversee rules and regulations for customer-friendly operations.
  • Supervise primary co-operative banks through Urban Bank Departments.
  • Facilitate and monitor credit flow to small-scale industries, rural, and agricultural sectors.
  • Regulate state cooperative banks, regional rural banks, and various local area banks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How many RBI Governors have there been so far?

There have been 25 RBI Governors to date, with Shaktikanta Das serving as the current governor.

Q2. What is the RBI Governor’s tenure?

The RBI Governor’s tenure is initially three years, extendable for two more years.

Q3. How is the RBI Governor appointed?

The RBI Governor is not appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office but is recommended by the Union Finance Minister.

Q4. What are the eligibility criteria for becoming an RBI Governor?

To be eligible, an individual must hold a Graduate/Post Graduate/Chartered Accountant degree and have relevant experience in institutions like the IMF/World Bank, banking organizations, or the Ministry of Finance.

Q5. What are the major powers of the RBI Governors?

The RBI Governors act as the banker’s banker, head all commercial banks, influence micro and macro economies, control the stock market, and have signatures on currency notes.


As you prepare for government exams, a thorough understanding of RBI Governors and their roles is crucial. Stay informed about the list of governors, their powers, eligibility criteria, and responsibilities to excel in the general awareness and polity sections of competitive exams.

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As a professional blogger and passionate educator, I am driven by a deep-seated desire to share knowledge and empower others. With years of experience in the field, I am committed to providing valuable insights and guidance to aspiring learners. My passion lies in helping individuals discover their potential and achieve their goals. I am also a firm believer in the power of motivation and strive to inspire others to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.

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