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Sir Benegal Rama Rau, CIE, ICS (1 July 1889 – 13 December 1969[1][2]) was the fourth Governor of the Reserve Bank of India from 1 July 1949 to 14 January 1957.[3]


Benegal Rama Rau

Sir Benegal Rama Rau, governor of Reserve Bank of India.jpg
4th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
In office
1 July 1949 – 14 January 1957
Preceded byC. D. Deshmukh
Succeeded byK. G. Ambegaonkar
Ambassador of India to the United States
In office
Ambassador of India to Japan
In office
Personal details
Born(1889-07-01)1 July 1889
Died13 December 1969(1969-12-13) (aged 80)
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge
OccupationCivil servant

He was educated at Presidency College, Madras, and at King's College, Cambridge. Joining the Indian Civil Service in 1919, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1930,[4] and was knighted in 1939.[5] He was a member of the Indian Civil Service. While he had the longest tenure as Governor of the RBI, it was cut short when he resigned just before the expiry of his second extended term, due to differences with Finance Minister TT Krishnamachari.[3] From a Konkani-speaking Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin[6] family from Mangaluru, his elder brother Sir Benegal Narsing Rau was an Indian civil servant, jurist, diplomat and statesman known for his key role in drafting the Constitution of India, and his younger brother B Shiva Rao became a journalist and politician. Married to Dhanvanthi Rama Rau, of Kashmiri Brahmin descent and a leader in the Indian women's rights movement who was the International President of Planned Parenthood, their younger daughter Santha Rama Rau became a travel writer, marrying and settling in the United States. On joining the ICS and before joining the RBI he held the following posts.[7]

  • Under-Secretary and Deputy Secretary to the Government of Madras (1919–1924)
  • Finance Department (1925–1926) as Secretary to the Indian Taxation Committee
  • Finance Department (1926–1928) as Deputy Secretary
  • Simons Commission (1928–1930) as Financial Adviser
  • Industries Department Joint Secretary
  • Round Table Conference as Secretary
  • Indian Bill (1931–1934) in the Joint Select Committee of Parliament
  • Deputy High Commissioner for India in London (1934–1938)
  • High Commissioner for India in South Africa (1938–1941)

When he returned to India he was appointed Chairman of the Bombay Port Trust (1941–1946). After serving in the post he once again served as a diplomat as the Indian Ambassador to Japan (1947–1948), and as the Ambassador to the United States (1948–1949). His last position was as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. He has been the longest-serving R.B.I Governor to date.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "World Chronology: 1969". Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  2. ^ "Sir Benegal Rama Rau". Munzinger. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
  3. ^ a b "List of Governors". Reserve Bank of India. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 2006-12-08.
  4. ^ Gazette, 30 May 1930
  5. ^ Tuesday 15 August 1939 London Gazette
  6. ^ Deccan Herald, 25 January
  7. ^ "Sir Benegal Rama Rau". SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORY ONLINE. Archived from the original on 17 December 2005. Retrieved 9 December 2006.