It is with deep sadness that many of Subir Gokarn’s friends and former colleagues heard about his tragic passing away in Washington DC on July 30th after a brief illness: Dr Gokarn was just 59. Since November 2015, Subir Gokarn had been the IMF Executive Director for India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. More than that, he was a professional and personal friend to many in India and overseas, known for his wry, keen sense of humour.
To celebrate the life and work of Dr Subir Gokarn, three New Delhi institutions—NCAER, Brookings India, and the Business Standard—came together on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 for a joint memorial meeting. Over 120 guests joined the meeting, held at the new T2 Conference Centre at NCAER. This 74-minute video of the memorial meeting contains tributes from the three institutions—delivered by Shekhar Shah, T N Ninan, and Shamika Ravi—and from a number of Subir’s colleagues and friends from his time at the Delhi School of Economics, IGIDR, NCAER, CRISIL, RBI, Brookings India, and the IMF.
Dr Gokarn started his professional career at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR) in Mumbai, becoming an Associate Professor over 1991-2000. During this time, he also spent an academic year at the Economic Growth Center at Yale on a Fulbright Fellowship. From IGIDR Subir came to NCAER as Chief Economist and IFCI Chair during 1999-2002. In that role, he ran the first three NCAER-NBER Neemrana Conferences, working closely with NBER Research Associate Raghuram Rajan. His association with NCAER continued over the years as an active member of the India Policy Forum Research Panel, co-editor on the India Policy Forum journal for two years, and a regular at the NCAER Neemrana Conferences.
From NCAER, Gokarn went on to become the Chief Economist of CRISIL from 2002 to 2007, and then Chief Economist of Standard & Poor Asia-Pacific during 2007-09. At 49, Gokarn became the RBI’s youngest Deputy Governor responsible for Monetary Policy, Research, Financial Markets, Communications and Deposit Insurance, staying at RBI from 2009-12. From 2012 to 2015, Gokarn was the first Director of Research at Brookings India, building a vibrant institution while overcoming many teething problems. In recent years, Subir Gokarn was a regular columnist with the Business Standard and a frequent participant at its editorial meetings.