By Siva Sivapragasam
Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy has been appointed as the new Governor of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank.
Indrajit Coomraswamy replaces the former Governor Arjuna Mahendran.
Educated at the premier educational institution Royal College, Colombo and later at Harrow School in England, Coomaraswamy gained his undergraduate degree at Cambridge University and obtained his Doctorate at the University of Sussex.
He joined the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 1973 and served in the Economic Research, Statistics and Bank Supervision Divisions as a staff officer till 1989. Thereafter he worked for the Commonwealth Secretariat from 1990–2008. At the time of the latest appointment, Dr. Coomaraswamy was an adviser at the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade.
Indrajit comes from an illustrious family where his father Raju Coomaraswamy, popularly referred to as “Roving Raju”, (due to his frequent Ambassadorial trips) served the UNDP between 1961 and 1977. Mr. Raju Coomaraswamy laid the foundation for the adoption of human development approach,which later became, according to a UN publication of 2015, part of the flagship mission of the United Nations under Mahbub UlHaq and Amartya Sen. Indrajit’s grandfather was Sir Velupillai Coomaraswamy who was a civil servant and a diplomat. He also served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Canada.
Indrajit’s younger sister is Radhika Coomaraswamy, a Human Rights activist and a member of the Constitutional Council. She also worked for the United Nations as the Under-Secretary-General, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflicts. She expressed joy and surprise on her brother’s appointment and told the Hindu newspaper that her brother Indrajit “Must have been in a state of shock,” on hearing about his appointment.
Indrajit Coomaraswamy is also a keen sportsman and played first class cricket for the Cambridge University Team and played Rugby for Cambridge University, and later captained Sri Lanka in Rugby in the 1974 Asiad.
The appointment was also hailed by many as a move on the part of the new regime towards reconciliation of communities and fairness towards high public service appointments irrespective of race or religion.
President Sirisena met Governor Coomaraswamy at the Presidential residence after his appointment. Mr. Coomaraswamy assumed duties on Monday, July 4th.
Joint Opposition stalwart Dinesh Gunawardena has welcomed the appointment of Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy as the new Central Governor.
“We welcome appointment of a New CB Governor, an experienced professional & respected in his field. Hope he brings credibility to CBSL & CBG,” Gunawardena said, in a Twitter post.
In a newspaper interview sometime back, Coomaraswamy remarked “Though domiciled in UK, I am still a Sri Lankan and always prepared to help my motherland.”