When noted economist Raghuram G Rajan takes over as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor next month, he will be among the youngest to occupy the high chair at the central bank. Rajan, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, will be 50 years and six months old when he takes over as the 23rd governor on September 5.
When Manmohan Singh became governor of RBI in 1982, he was 10 days short of his 50th birthday. Singh, born on September 26, 1932, took over as the 15th governor on September 16, 1982. He was appointed by Pranab Mukherjee, the then finance minister in the Indira Gandhi government.
The distinction of being the youngest Indian governor of RBI lies with C D Deshmukh, a civil servant who took over the office at the age of 47 in 1943. He continued as RBI Governor upon India's independence in 1947, becoming the first Indian to be appointed on the post.
Rajan, who succeeds D Subbarao, will be the first non-civil servant in 10 years to steer RBI. The previous non-IAS RBI governor was Bimal Jalan, who had an almost six-year stint that ended in 2003.
C Rangarajan, who is chairman of Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, served as head of the central bank from December 1992 to November 1997.
Subbarao's predecessor, Y V Reddy, like him, was an IAS officer and a secretary in the finance ministry and had a stint of five years from 2003-08.
The first governor of the central bank was Osborne Smith, appointed by the British Crown. He was succeeded by another Britisher and Indian Civil Services officer James Braid Taylor in 1937, after which Deshmukh took over.