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S. Venkitaramanan

S. Venkitaramanan
18th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
In office
22 December 1990 – 21 December 1992
Preceded byR. N. Malhotra
Succeeded byC. Rangarajan
Personal details
Sri Venkitaramanan

(1931-01-28)28 January 1931
Nagercoil, Travancore, India
Died18 November 2023(2023-11-18) (aged 92)
Alma mater

Sri Venkitaramanan (28 January 1931 – 18 November 2023) was an Indian civil servant and economist who served as the 18th governor of the Reserve Bank of India between 1990 and 1992, where he oversaw India's actions to tide over the balance of payments crisis. His actions were noted to have helped the country out of the crisis when its foreign-exchange reserves had almost depleted and helped usher in the country's economic liberalisation programme in the early 1990s.[1][2]

He earlier served as the finance secretary in India's Ministry of Finance, from 1985 to 1989.[3][4]

Early life

Venkitaramanan was born on 28 January 1931 in the town of Nagercoil in Padmanathapuram division of the princely-state of Travancore, into a Tamil Iyer family.[5][6]

Venkitaramanan completed his master's degree in physics from University College Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala,[7] and also obtained a master's degree in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, US.[8]


Venkitaramanan was a member of the Indian Administrative Service.[9] He was posted with the Government of India and with the state of Tamilnadu at various times. He also served the Government of Karnataka as adviser.[10] In the late 1960s, he served as the private secretary to Indian politician and food minister, Chidambaram Subramaniam, while ushering in India's green revolution.[11][12]

Venkitaramanan served as Finance Secretary in the Ministry of Finance with the Government of India for four years from 1985 to 1989, under the Rajiv Gandhi government.[8] He briefly served as an advisor to the Government of Karnataka when the state was under President's rule. He later served as the 18th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India for two years between 1990 and 1992.[13][11] At the time of his appointment as RBI Governor, India was in the midst of a balance of payments crisis, with fast-depleting foreign exchange reserves.[13] It is noted that while he had no economics training, he was selected for this position given his familiarity with the balance of payments situation.[14] His actions as the Governor were noted to have contributed to India's tiding over the crisis.[2][1][13] Specifically, during this time, the country adopted the International Monetary Fund's stabilization program and started on its economic liberalization program, including devaluation of the Indian rupee.[11] During this time, he partnered with the then finance minister, Manmohan Singh, in implementing some of the reforms and also engaged with international multilateral agencies and other central banks towards raising foreign exchange for the country.[14]

He was also the RBI Governor during 1992 Indian stock market scam also sometimes referred to as the Harshad Mehta scam, after the principal accused. The incident was called a failure of the country's securities markets.[14]

After retirement, Venkitaramanan served as the Chairman of Ashok Leyland Investment Services Ltd., New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Ltd. and Ashok Leyland Finance Ltd.[8] He also served in the boards of Reliance Industries Limited, SPIC, Piramal Healthcare Ltd, Tamil Nadu Water Investment Co. Ltd and Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd.[8]

Personal life

Venkitaramanan was married and had two daughters. One of his daughters, Girija Vaidyanathan, was a 1981 Tamil Nadu cadre Indian Administrative Service officer who served as the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu.[15]

Venkitaramanan died on 18 November 2023, at the age of 92.[16][17]

Published works

  • S, Venkitaramanan (2005). Indian Economy: Reviews And Commentaries - Vol.III. ICFAI University Press. ISBN 978-81-7881-573-2.
  • S, Venkitaramanan (2003). Indian Economy: Reviews And Commentaries - Vol.II. ICFAI University Press. ISBN 978-81-7881-161-1.
  • S, Venkitaramanan (2003). Indian Economy: Reviews And Commentaries - Vol.I. ICFAI University Press. ISBN 978-81-7881-146-8.
  • S, Venkitaramanan (1998). Dilemmas of Development: The Indian Experience. Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.

In popular culture


  1. ^ a b Balakrishnan, Pulapre (23 August 2016). "Looking for some change, Governor". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2019 – via
  2. ^ a b "In fact: RBI head and crisis manager during 1991 BOP turmoil". 5 April 2017. Archived from the original on 27 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  3. ^ "S Venkitaramanan". Archived from the original on 12 July 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  4. ^ "List of Governors". Reserve Bank of India. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "AIADMK's pick of no-nonsense Girija Vaidhyanathan as Chief Secretary surprises many". 22 December 2016. Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Profiles – Mr. S. Venkitaramanan :: Reliance Industries Limited". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d "Stocks". 24 November 2023.
  9. ^ "SUPREMO". Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Urjit Patel resigns: From Osborne Smith to Shaktikanta Das, here's a list of the men who have held the top post at Mint Street". Moneycontrol. 10 December 2018. Archived from the original on 11 December 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Livemint (18 November 2023). "Former RBI Governor S Venkitaramanan dies at 92". mint. Archived from the original on 23 November 2023. Retrieved 23 November 2023.
  12. ^ Pradhan, R. D.; Godbole, Madhav (1999). Debacle to Revival: Y.B. Chavan as Defence Minister, 1962–65. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 978-81-250-1477-5.
  13. ^ a b c "Reserve Bank of India – Governors". Archived from the original on 3 February 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  14. ^ a b c "Venkitaramanan, who steered RBI during 1991 crisis, passes away at 92". The Times of India. 19 November 2023. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 23 November 2023.
  15. ^ "5 things you need to know about new Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu Girija Vaidyanathan | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. 22 December 2016. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Former RBI Governor S Venkitaramanan passes away". 18 November 2023. Archived from the original on 18 November 2023. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  17. ^ Shetty, Mayur (18 November 2023). "S. Venkitaramanan, Former RBI Governor During 1990s Crisis, Passes Away at 92". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 19 November 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  18. ^ "Real Vs. Reel: Characters In 'Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story' & Their Real-Life Counterparts". ScoopWhoop. 17 October 2020. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021. Retrieved 11 April 2021.

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S. Venkitaramanan
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