“There have been many testing periods during my career at the central bank. But I always enjoyed such situations, because our responsibility is to ensure that the public confidence in the system is not shaken,” RBI deputy governor Shyamala Gopinath said
Mumbai: The deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Shyamala Gopinath, who retired today from the Mint Road office after 39 years of service, says she never felt that she was disadvantaged or advantaged for being a woman, and that there is no glass ceiling at the central bank, reports PTI.
“I don't think a glass ceiling operates for the governor (of the RBI) or for that matter, for any of its officers. At the RBI, all officers are treated as officers and not as women or men. I am an RBI officer like any other.
Because of one’s gender one would not be able to climb up the ladder here,” Ms Gopinath told PTI in her last interview as the deputy governor here yesterday.
“In my 39 years of life at RBI, never ever I felt that I should be treated differently for being a woman. Being women does not help or places one at a disadvantageous position at RBI,” she explained.
When asked about the highs and lows of her four decades-old career, Ms Gopinath said she enjoyed managing many a crisis situation during her long years of service.
“There have been many testing periods during my career at the central bank. But I always enjoyed such situations, because our responsibility is to ensure that the public confidence in the system is not shaken,” Ms Gopinath who joined RBI in April 1972, says adding since she has handled so many areas, does not feel that she has spent so many years.
Elaborating on the tough tasks that RBI has to handle, she says government borrowing is always a tough job, especially during a crisis. “See, managing liquidity is a big challenge.
Managing government borrowing means ensuring that the confidence in the system is not shaken and also ensuring that there is enough liquidity in the system.”
During the last crisis even the economy itself was in bad shape. So were the banks, with very low credit offtake.
Therefore, liquidity management was the biggest challenge for us, she recalls and reels out the list of serious crises as the Asian currency meltdown of 1997, the Kargil conflict of 1999, the Harshad Mehta stock scam of 1992, and ensuring liquidity during the India Millennium Bond maturity of 2000.
Ms Gopinath, who loves classical music, says she wants to give some time to herself before starting anything new. But she would like to continue to contribute to public policy and the financial sector one way or other. During the interim, Ms Gopinath, who said she does not have any particular hobbies, would like to listen to and learn some classical music.
Haling from Karnataka, Ms Gopinath has been handling the departments of internal debt management, foreign exchange, government and bank accounts, non-banking supervision, external investments and operations, financial markets, communication and legal, at the time of hanging up her boots.
Appointed as deputy governor on 20 September 2004 for five years, Ms Gopinath was given an extension till 20 June 2011.
Significantly, her previous colleague Usha Thorat was denied an extension after her five-year stint that ended on 4 November 2010, which raised many eyebrows. And so was the fate of V Leeladhar who was appointed on the same day along with Gopinath in 2004.