G.V. Ramakrishna, 91, who was the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India after it became a statutorily empowered markets regulator, passed away in Chennai on Saturday.
Starting his career as a biochemist doing research in haematology, Ramakrishna joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1952 and served in several capacities in the Andhra Pradesh government before rising to the post of Chief Secretary of the State.
An administrator, renowned for his integrity and no nonsense approach to addressing issues, Ramakrishna was appointed in 1990 as the second chairman of the then two-year-old Securities and Exchange Board. During his tenure, he oversaw the transition of the Board into a legally empowered markets regulator following the enactment of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.
Formally established under the Act on April 12, 1992, Ramakrishna became its first fully empowered chairman and through the sheer force of his reputation helped create the framework for a modern and vibrant securities market. In his vision for protecting investors' interests, Ramakrishna was convinced that the way to do it would be through setting up systems and procedures to automatically take care of problems. To that end he strove to get merchant bankers to ensure that the prospectus for any capital issue provided accurate and adequate information to investors. He also sought and pushed for increased transparency in the working of the country's stock exchanges.
Ramakrishna, who served the government in several other capacities both at the Centre and abroad during his more than five-decade career in public service, was also the first chairman of the Disinvestment Commission.