Ex-RBI governor M Narasimham passes away due to COVID-19 complications: Why was he known as the father of banking sector reforms?

The 94-year-old Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Maidavolu Narasimham died on April 20 due to COVID-19 complications. He was being treated at a Hyderabad hospital.

He is the first and the only governor to date to be appointed from the Reserve Bank cadre. He started his journey with RBI as a Research Officer in the Economic Department. Later he took up a job with the government. He served as an Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, before joining RBI yet again. But this time as the Governor in 1977. Although he had a short tenure of seven months, Padma Vibhushan awardee had an impactful ensure. He introduced many reforms in India’s banking sector as his chaired couple of committees. He was, thus, referred to as the father of banking reforms. He later served as Executive Director for India at the World Bank and at the IMF after which he served in the Ministry of Finance as Secretary.

Some of his key achievements:

  • He chaired two high-powered committees on banking and financial sector reforms -- Committee on the Financial System in 1991 and the Committee of Banking Sector Reforms in 1998.

  • In August 2019, the Indian government had undertaken a massive consolidation exercise merging 10 Public Sector Bank into four. Now, there are around 12 PSBs as against the earlier figure of 27 PSBs. This massive exercise was undertaken recently but it was built on the recommendations by the Narasimham committee of 1991.

  • Even asset reconstruction concept is built around the committee recommendations. It is stated that those recommendations served as the foundation for India's current Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code which was codified in 2016.

  • In 1976, he had also been the author of the Regional Rural Bank report which was the basis for the setup of regional rural banks in India as well.

  • He also suggested the need for a new generation private sector bank in the country. This gave birth to banks like ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and others.

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