Sir Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh – The First Indian to be Appointed as Governor of Reserve Bank of India


Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh

Quick Facts

  • Full Name: Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh
  • Also Known As: C. D. Deshmukh
  • Famous As: Governor of Reserve Bank of India
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Birth Date: 14 January 1896 (Nategaon, Maharashtra)
  • Died On: 2 October 1982
  • Awards: Padma Vibhushan (1975)


We all go through history lessons in school and there are some parts that we miss! Who was the first Indian to be the governor of Reserve Bank of India? This is before India became an independent country. Sir Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh was the first Indian who was appointed to be Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. We read about freedom fighters but it is rare that we read about the people, who shaped our country’s finance industry.

It is very important to know about crafters of Indian society. Sir C. D. Deshmukh was one of them. Let us take a look at his story!

Sir Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh – The First Indian Governor of Reserve Bank of India

Early Life

Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh was born in the year 1896 on 14th January. He was born to Dwarakanath Ganesh Deshmukh and Bhagirathibai. He was born in Nategaon in Maharashtra in a Marathi-speaking Kayastha family.

He went to the Elphinstone School in Bombay. In the year 1912, Chintaman passed his matriculation exam at the University of Bombay. He also received a scholarship in Sanskrit language. The scholarship was called Jagannath Shankarseth Scholarship.

In the year 1915, Chintaman went to England and he earned a degree from Jesus College, Cambridge in Natural Sciences Tripos. In the year 1918, he gave the Indian Civil Service Exam which was held in London. He topped it and from there, he reached new heights.

Career as an Indian Civil Servant

Since Chintaman topped the Indian Civil Service exam, he returned to his country, India, in the year 1920. The young man worked in Central Provinces and Berar. He held several important posts such as the under-secretary to the government, settlement officer, Deputy Commissioner and also Secretary General at the famous round table conference.

Chintaman briefly served as Joint Secretary to Government of India. He was a talented, educated and humble man. Little did he know that future is holding something extraordinary for him!

Introducing the First Governor of Reserve Bank of India

In the year 1939, Deshmukh joined Reserve Bank of India. He served as Secretary to the Board and also the Deputy Governor. Chintaman was appointed as the Governor of Reserve Bank of India in the year 1943. Since there was British raj, it was the British officials, who appointed Chintaman as the Governor.

As the Governor of RBI, Chintaman Deshmukh focused on promoting rural credit and establishing the Industrial Finance Corporation. He was against the nationalization of RBI but he continued to be the chairman. In the year 1949, RBI was nationalized.

Five Rupees Note Signed by the First Indian Governor of Reserve Bank of India C. D. Deshmukh

You could see C. D. Deshmukh’s signature on the Indian currency. After RBI changed from a private to a nationalized institution, Benegal Rama Rau became the Governor of RBI.

Chintaman Deshmukh became the Finance Minister in the Union Cabinet from 1950-56.

Awards and Recognitions

In the year 1957, Chintaman was awarded Doctor of Science (University of Calcutta) and Doctor of Literature (Panjab University). C. D. Deshmukh and Durgabai were awarded Padma Vibhushan in the year 1975.

Since the year 1984, RBI organized a lecture series named as, ‘Chintaman Deshmukh Memorial Lectures’.

The National Council of Applied Economic Research conducts the C. D. Deshmukh Memorial Lecture on an annual basis. They have been doing it since the year 2013.

In the year 2004, a postage stamp was released in the honour of C. D. Deshmukh.

Remembering Chintaman Dwarkanath Deshmukh

In the year 1974, Chintaman published an autobiography which was called, ‘The Course of My Life’. He married twice! Both his marriages were fulfilling but his first wife died in the year 1949. Chintaman was married to Rosina Arhur Wilcox and they had a daughter as well.

In the year 1953, Chintaman married Durgabai. She was a lawyer, freedom fighter and also a politician. They stayed together till her death in the year 1981.

Chintaman was in Hyderabad when he took his last breath. He died in the year 1982 on 2nd October.

C. D. Deshmukh will always be remembered as the first Indian to be appointed as the Governor of India. There are very few people, who are remembered for their deeds and the positions they hold in the society. C. D. Deshmukh is one such name which has gone down the history lane.


Written By: Anshu Choudhary


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