Money & Banking

And the mystery is solved: Patel it is

Richa Mishra K R Srivats New Delhi | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on August 20, 2016

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan with Urjit Patel, Deputy Governor, RBI, will take over as the central bank’s new head, ending two months’ speculation about Raghuram Rajan’s successor. – PTI (file photo).

It was a Saturday when Raghuram Rajan announced his intent to exit, it is another Saturday that Urjit Patel has been appointed as his successor to head Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as Governor.

That day on June 18 when Rajan made public is letter to his staff stating that he planned to go back to the world of academia after he demits office on September 3, this came as a complete surprise for not only those who are at the highest echelons of the government, but also the entire financial sector.

Interestingly, before Rajan’s letter became public there were strong indications that the government may just continue with him for the second term. Subsequent to the letter becoming public, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had supposedly called a quick meeting of all his senior finance ministry officials and then said: “Centre appreciated the good work done by RBI Governor Rajan. The government respects the RBI governor’s decision not to seek a second term…”

And as days passed many a names started doing rounds, with Urjit Patel being the front runner since then.

On August 18, speculations in the corridors of North Block that houses the Finance Ministry gathered fresh momentum when reports of a meeting between Jaitley and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for deciding the name were heard. However, the government refrained from announcing any name that day, with the Finance Minister telling the waiting media “We will let you know when we decide…You will come to know the conclusion, not the process."

There were many hopefuls for the post, but what was the government looking for? If those claiming to be in know of the developments are to be believed they wanted a name that is not bigger than RBI, No green card, no IMF background, but an economist who is well versed with Indian economy and society,

Never before search for RBI governor would have seen so many twists and turns – “two names shortlisted”, “files returned”, “a new thinking why not a woman”, and finally “a new name has been added to the list”. A new name, which was closely guarded secret! All were heard during the days gone by.

But, government made its choice clear. A safe bet! And the economy watchers now see New Delhi gaining an upper hand in the way financial sector policies are shaped up.

Published on August 20, 2016

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