......our answer to all your banking needs


Follow AllBankingSolutions


    Follow allbanking on Twitter

K C Chakrabarty – An Accidental Banker ? - Lessons for Top Management



Rajesh Goyal 

Ads by Google


I have come across an interesting interview of Mr K C Chakrabarty published in Business Standard (dated 30th May, 2014).   He is one of those few bankers who have remained controversial during their tenure as CMDs of PS banks and even later on as Deputy Governor of RBI.  After reading this interview, I could not resist of expressing my views on this interview and recent controversy relating to PM of India. (Click here to read the full interview: Lunch with BS : K C Chakrabarty

 The following article and interview must be read by every officer in banking sector as they will get the inside thoughts (e.g. his admission that now he has to now stand in queue at the airports) of top bankers after they retire.  Share it with your friends either through social media or discussions at personal level.

 One of the highlights of the above interview is his admission of the fact that “banking came to him not by design but by accident”.  It immediately reminded me of the recent book “The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh”, which  is a 2014 memoir by Indian policy analyst Sanjaya Baru, who was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's media advisor from May 2004 until August 2008.    I am sure, there is little common between two personalities i.e. Manmohan Singh and K C Chakrabarty except that both appear to have reached their positions by ACCIDENT rather than their wishes.   In the book by Baru the main focus has been on the powerless PM, and  significant power being wielded by the Congress party's president Sonia Gandhi, to whom Manmohan Singh was completely "subservient".  However, Mr Chakrabarty has never been subservient and unlike Manmohan Singh has been very vocal on various issues.

 Both of them reached to the positions where they could have done a lot more for the country / banking.    Both of them remained at the top positions for long time – Mr Singh was PM for 10 years, whereas Mr Chakbrabarty was in saddle for almost similar period as CMD of two biggest PS Banks  (Indian Bank and PNB) and then as Deputy Governor of RBI.    Both had a chance to influence the policies of the country / banking sector which could have uplifted the poor or which could have left long term mark in the history of country / banking.  However, both these Accidental Personalities miserably failed to leave any long term marks (whenever Mr Singh will be remembered, he will be remembered for good work he did during his tenure as Finance Minister and not as PM).   Mr Singh will be remembered for failing in his mission due to his silence and not asserting his authority, whereas Mr Chakrabarty will be remembered for failing in his mission due to his outspoken habit and not taking his team along to achieve the mission of helping poor in particular and banking sector in general.   When he was CMD, he was at loggershead with most of GMs, whereas when he was DG at RBI, he was loggershead with Governor RBI.


In today’s India, it is not frequently that people with brilliant academic records and knowledge are able to reach the top positions.   But sometimes Accidents do happen, and such people are able to reach the top.   The moment it happens people have great hopes.   Mr Singh and Mr Chakrabarty had excellent academic records and were lucky to reach the top, but failed due to their own personality traits.   This reminds us of golden rule that one has to be balanced personality.  Now NaMo, a Tea Seller,  has reached the post of PM not by accident but his hard work and not academic brilliance.  People like Manishankar Aiyer (including Mr Manmohan Singh and Mr Chakrabarty) with education at top colleges, are finding extremely difficult to digest that a common man has reached the top post.  I hope he will prove to be much more balanced personality.


Ads by Google


I feel the interview of Mr Chakrabarty contains many self contradictions (which some people may not agree, but I will request them to read between the lines carefully) yet I will like to quote some interesting parts which will give an insight about the thought and regrets Mr Chakrabarty has now  (He never learnt such lessons from his experience during his service).   The excerpts from interview reads:

“When he was in Bank of Baroda, he was posted for a long time in Baroda (now Vadodara), which was 1,800 km away from his adopted hometown of Varanasi, with the result that he couldn't attend the last rites of both his parents since convention dictates that the cremation must take place before sunset on the same day as the death. Then, he was shipped to Chennai from Delhi, when he became chairman of Indian Bank, and then brought back to Delhi, when he took over as chairman of Punjab National Bank (PNB), unlike many of his peers who became chairmen of banks that had their headquarters in the same city in which they were posted”.

[This shows that he regretted his posting in Delhi inspite of his being elevated to the posts of CMD with all the perks and free official visits to the place where his family was living!! It appears he wanted to be posted as CMD of a bank which had HO  either at Baroda or Varanasi ! However, during his tenure as CMD he always ensured that officers were transferred to the farthest places (except his own men).    Question arise, why even now clerks promoted to Scale I are sent 1000 kms or more away ?  What steps he took to stop such trends in banking industry?]

 Another interesting part is his admission of the fact as to how CMDs / EDs misuse their official authorities (he says he has not done so during his tenure).

 "For instance, many of my illustrious colleagues used to call for their bank board meetings in the same city where they had to attend a family wedding. I was singularly talent-less in these things,"

 Every banker is very much aware of this kind of corrupt practices, but they keep silent owing to fear of backlash from top management.    It is good that Mr Chakrabarty has admitted this fact openly in his interview.    However, the moot question remains,  What steps he took during  he tenure as DG of RBI to stop such practices?  If he has failed to bring it to light during his tenure at RBI, then how can we expect that any officer in Scale I to Scale VII can dare to raise such questions during their service?

 There is need to bring transparency in the working of the banks specially at Board level and empower the officials at the middle level to be more vocal in bringing the ills in the banking industry, or else slowly public sector banks will perish.


You can give your feedback / comments about this Article.   Please give only relevant comments as irrelevant comments are waste of time for yourself and our other readers.



blog comments powered by Disqus