The Reserve Bank of India’s Shaktikanta Das has been named the ‘Central Banker of the Year 2020’ for the Asia-Pacific region by financial intelligence magazine The Banker.
Mr. Das, who assumed the office of RBI Governor in 2018, won the accolade for bringing in measures to tighten the rules around NBFCs and the award is presented to the bankers who have 'best managed to stimulate growth and stabilise their economy,' according to The Banker. The Indian economy has been facing various challenges of late and Mr. Shaktikanta Das has taken steps to bring India’s banking up to the standard with the help of a restrained approach to governance, the magazine added.
In India, the banking system has been facing various challenges such as non-performing loans and fraud. The latest bank fraud was seen in the PMC bank which cooked up its books and withheld massive debt. Further, the economy has also been facing headwinds of a slowdown.
The central bank was forced to cut interest rates five times in the last year as the country has been reeling under an economic slump. The bank was open to cutting the interest rates again if necessary, the magazine said.
Mr. Shaktikanta Das tried to resolve banking issues within the financial system. While it was a risky move, if it works, it will reduce dependence on the RBI. 'Lenders outside the traditional bank network have been placed under greater levels of scrutiny. Housing finance companies have been brought under the regulation of RBI and will adhere to the same rules framework of non-bank finance companies,' the statement said.
With India’s smaller banks needing assistance, the central bank also took a proactive stance to help them. 'As the threat from newer micro-finance institutions looms, Mr. Das moved to help the country’s urban co-operative banks install a robust IT system that will allow them to offer banking services at a lower cost and with safeguards to protect the customer,' it said.
Mr. Shaktikanta Das replaced Mr. Urjit Patel as RBI Governor after the latter had resigned from his post in 2018.