MA in History, Shaktikanta Das is first non-economist in 28 years to be RBI governor

Shaktikanta Das appointed RBI governor

Retired IAS officer Shaktikanta Das is the 25th RBI governor. (Photo: PTI)

There are no fixed eligibility criteria for appointment of a person as the RBI governor. According to the RBI Act, appointment of governor is approved by the PMO on the recommendation of the finance minister. Shaktikanta Das is the 25th RBI governor and 14th career bureaucrat including 12 IAS/ICS officers to hold the position.

With the appointment of Shaktikanta Das as RBI governor, the position has gone back to an IAS officer after two economist incumbents. The last IAS officer to hold the office of RBI governor was D Subbarao, who was also an economist like his predecessor YV Reddy.

However, Shaktikanta Das holds degrees of graduation and post-graduation in History from Delhi University. He later pursued a financial management course from IIM Bangalore. His predecessors Urjit Patel and Raghuram Rajan were economists of repute.

Both Raghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel earned their reputation as top economists during their association with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Incidentally, Shaktikanta Das is the first RBI governor since 1990, when S Venkitaraman was appointed to the office.

Venkitaraman was an IAS officer and like Shaktikanta Das had served as a secretary in the finance ministry. Venkitaraman was the finance secretary. Shaktikanta Das was first the revenue secretary and then the economic affairs secretary when he oversaw demonetisation drive of the Narendra Modi government.

What about previous appointments as RBI governor?

Osborne Smith was the first RBI governor, appointed in 1935. He was a professional banker. His successors were all bureaucrats drawn mainly from ICS (Indian Civil Services) till BN Adarkar in 1970.

Adarkar was an economist but his stint was a stop-gap arrangement for 42 days. But his appointment was in sync with the growing realisation that the RBI governor had much more to do than just put signatures on various currency denominations.


HDL or good cholesterol can be life threatening, says a new study

Contrary to claims that good cholesterol is beneficial to the heart, a new study has showed that very high levels may be associated with an increased risk of heart attack and death.

The findings showed that people with high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good) cholesterol levels of 41-60 mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre) had the lowest risk of heart attack or cardiovascular death.

However, the risk increased in people with low levels (less than 41 mg/dl) as well as very high levels (greater than 60 mg/dl) of HDL cholesterol.

People with HDL cholesterol levels greater than 60 mg/dl had a nearly 50 per cent increased risk of dying from a cardiovascular cause or having a heart attack compared to those with HDL cholesterol levels 41-60 mg/dl.

“It may be time to change the way we view HDL cholesterol. Traditionally, physicians have told their patients that the higher your ‘good’ cholesterol, the better,” said Marc Allard-Ratick, from the Emory University in Atlanta, US.

“However, the results from this study and others suggest that this may no longer be the case,” he added.

The bad effects of very high HDL cholesterol were consistent even after controlling other risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, smoking, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol, as well as other factors such as alcohol intake, race, and sex.

HDL cholesterol has been considered “good” because the HDL molecule is involved in the transport of cholesterol from the blood and blood vessel walls to the liver and ultimately out of the

body, thereby reducing the risk of clogged arteries and atherosclerosis, the researchers explained.

The study investigated the relationship between HDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack and death in 5,965 individuals, most of whom had heart disease.

The results were presented at the ESC Congress 2018, the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Munich, Germany.


If your iPhone battery needs to be replaced, do it before December 31

After last year’s fiasco about Apple slowing down iPhones with old batteries, the company decided to make amends by offering discounted battery replacement for all handsets ranging from iPhone SE and iPhone 6 all the way up to iPhone X. But that period will soon come to an end.

So if you are in need of a new iPhone battery, there’s no better time than this month, because Apple is currently charging just $29, down from $79 and prices will go up after that. Most older iPhones will be repaired for $49 in 2019, but the iPhone X battery swap will set you back $69.

And if you are wondering about the new iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, they aren’t included in the program since they were launched long after the debacle. And besides, they are still under warranty.