Shaktikanta Das: Building blocks for a sustainable future - some reflections

Speech by Mr Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, at the 29th Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture, Mumbai, 23 August 2023. 

Central bank speech  | 
06 September 2023

I am deeply honoured for the invitation to deliver this lecture in the memory of Shri Lalit Doshi, an eminent civil servant, whose sudden demise at an early age nearly three decades back was a great loss to many, including the state of Maharashtra. Shri Doshi is fondly remembered as unassuming, sober, hardworking and extremely competent by his colleagues and contemporaries. In his distinguished public service career spanning more than 27 years, he held several key positions both in the state and central governments. As Secretary Industries, Government of Maharashtra during 1992-94, till his sad demise in January 1994, he played a pivotal role in formulating the New Industrial Policy for the State. I can personally relate to Shri Lalit Doshi and the challenges he would have faced as Secretary Industries, as I served as Industries' Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu on two occasions (2001 and 2006) and as Joint Secretary Industries in 1991-1993.

The 1990s held out great promise for the industrial sector in India, following the delicencing of industries and initiation of economic reforms. In tandem, the Indian rupee was devalued to improve the competitiveness of the Indian economy. New opportunities for investment opened up, as domestic and foreign investors looked at expanding their footprints. The Bombay Club1 took some time to adjust to the new reality, but adjusted very well over a period of time. In this milieu, there was growing competition among states to attract investments on the basis of their fundamentals, supporting infrastructure, quality and availability of skilled manpower and other relevant factors.

Recognising Shri Lalit Doshi's contributions to the development and well-being of the state and the country at large, I have chosen "Building Blocks for a Sustainable Future" as the theme of my address today. Sustainable future would mean sustaining and strengthening the growth momentum of the economy without creating inflationary pressures and other macroeconomic imbalances, while remaining inclusive and climate sensitive. I would like to begin by dwelling upon the role of a central bank in economic development and highlighting the current macroeconomic context and then touch upon certain supporting pillars for a sustainable future.