K.V. Kamath is front-runner for next Finance Minister
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K.V. Kamath is front-runner for next Finance Minister

January 16, 2020

New Delhi: Now that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting dozens of people to see how to fix the Indian economy, New Delhi’s rumour mills are abuzz about a new Finance Minister soon after the coming Budget, replacing the current Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. 

Former ICICI Bank Chairman K.V. Kamath (Kundapur Vaman Kamath) is seen as a front-runner. Kamath is currently the Chief of the New Development Bank of BRICS (association of emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries.

The Parliament session will begin with the address of President Ram Nath Kovind on Jan. 31 and the Budget will be presented on Feb. 1. 

A non-politician like Dr. Manmohan Singh, K.V. Kamath’s familiarity with the financial world is a big positive. Kamath, the banker on whom technology leaders bank upon, is one of India’s most accomplished and acknowledged business leaders. He started his illustrious career in 1971 with ICICI, India’s largest private sector bank. 

In 1988, he joined the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in private sector department. He came back to India in 1996 as Managing Director and CEO at ICICI Bank. In the following years, ICICI Bank expanded its boundaries and became India’s first ‘universal bank.’ 

Kamath spearheaded this transition considered a pivotal point in Indian banking. He retired as Managing Director and CEO to become the non-Executive Chairman from 2009 to 2015. Kamath served as Chairman, Infosys Limited and Co-Chair of World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. He also served on the Board of Schlumberger Limited.

Kamath also serves as an independent Director on the Boards of the Houston-based oil services company Schlumberger since 2010, and the Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer Lupin. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. 

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Born on Dec. 2, 1947 in Mangalore to a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin family, Kamath graduated as Mechanical Engineer and completed his Post-Graduation in Business Administration from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. He has received widespread recognition including CNBC’s Asian Business Leader of the Year (2001), Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia (2007) and Business Leader of the Year by The Economic Times, India (2007). In 2008, Kamath was conferred the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours.

3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “K.V. Kamath is front-runner for next Finance Minister”

  1. swamy says:

    Right choice if he agrees to become finance minister.

  2. Paranthaman S says:

    There is nothing much anyone can do for the economy. If you attack black money, people who are dependent on it will lose jobs. State govts can do. Bring single window clearance system for small scale industries/companies. If I want to start a company irrespective of investment size, I should get all approvals at one shot and quickly. Many people will invest and start small companies.

  3. What a culture! says:

    The problem with Modi, like Nehru, he surrounds with ministers who do not disagree with him. He surrounds himself just like Nehru with yes men and yes women. Amit Shah and Nirmala Sitharaman are the two examples.
    Appointing Nirmala Sitharaman, as the FM, was to reward her blind loyalty. She may have a postgraduate degree in economics, but she has had hardly any experience in finance ; her experience in the UK while her husband was studying there, as it was claimed, given that the spouses of students on student visas were not allowed to work full-time is hardly the qualification to assume the stewardship of economy in a large third world country like India.
    Having said the above, what can an experienced financier like Kamath can do, although he may be well suited to become the FM? India is not an open economy, its rules and regulations do not encourage foreign investors, it needs them desperately. Private companies large and small are not efficient.
    In China , the economy is a command economy overseen by the Chinese government, but it is done very well, so much so, Chinese investment is all sectors of the economy is huge. Its manufacturing industry:all laptops, mobile phones etc.. are manufactured there for example as also heavy machinery, is well advanced unlike India. China has pioneered wireless communication, streets ahead of India. Its investment in Science is also huge, so much so that they lead research in many scientific fields. One should only look at the quality journal papers they produce in a variety of areas from genetic research to data science: indicating te proof of huge investment. India needs that kind of investment, and it is not forthcoming, Modi, taking selfies with Western leaders, and boasting about Indian-origin scientists does not help, as they do not live in India and do not contribute in India.
    No wonder China is a superpower, permanent member of the UN Security Council, and when China speaks all major powers listen as it is politically powerful Can India do it? I doubt it.

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