Michael Debabrata Patra: Reserve Bank of India's pandemic response - stepping out of oblivion

Keynote address by Dr Michael Debabrata Patra, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, at the C D Deshmukh Memorial Lecture, organised by the Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, 28 January 2022.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
28 January 2022

Valuable comments from Sitikantha Pattanaik, Rajiv Ranjan, Indranil Bhattacharya, Abhilasha and editorial help from Vineet Kumar Srivastava are gratefully acknowledged.

Professor Muchkund Dubey, President, Professor Shanta Sinha, Chairperson, Managing Committee, Professor Sujit Kumar Mishra, Regional Director (in-Charge), Dr. Sunny Jose, RBI Chair Professor, faculty and staff of the Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, (hereafter CSD), students, researchers and faculty joining this event from various universities and research institutions across the country, colleagues and friends! It is indeed an honour to share my thoughts today under the prestigious C D Deshmukh Memorial Lecture Series instituted by the CSD since 1997.

For the Reserve Bank of India (hereafter RBI), this lecture series has a special significance. Late Shri Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh was the first Indian Governor of the RBI from August 11, 1943 to June 30, 1949. His association with the RBI began even earlier in July 1939 when he was appointed Liaison Officer to the RBI by the Government of India. Three months later, he was appointed Secretary of the Central Board of the Bank, two years later in December 1941 as the Deputy Governor, and then Governor on August 11, 1943. He presided over the transformation of the RBI from a private shareholders' bank to a nationalised institution. Under his stewardship, a comprehensive legislation for the regulation of banking companies was enacted. Another landmark legislation under his leadership led to the establishment of the first financial institution for the provision of long-term credit to industry, namely, the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI). He also played an important role in the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire, USA in July 1944, which established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD or the World Bank). His vision and ideas still resonate in the corridors of the RBI.

Among his many outstanding contributions to society at large, Late Shri Deshmukh and his wife Late Shrimati Durgabai Deshmukh played a pioneering role in the establishment of the CSD in 1962 as a leading research and policy studies institution. Today, it is a matter of national pride that the CSD engages in policy-oriented research with a special focus on social aspects of development planning, social justice and equity. Research at the CSD continues to evaluate the diverse impacts of policies on the relationship between the state and people. Our association with the CSD also goes back to 1985 when the RBI Chair Professorship was established. It is a matter of considerable satisfaction that many of our officers have been associated with the CSD in their self-actualisation.