Race to Rajan’s Chair: RBI Shortlists Four Names for Governor Post

Three of the candidates are central bank veterans, and the fourth one heads the country’s largest commercial bank.

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 RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan shocked markets 10 days ago when he announced he would not seek reappointment in September. (Photo: Reuters)

The government has narrowed down its list of candidates to become the next governor of the Reserve Bank of India to four, a senior government official told Reuters.

A new Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) also will be chosen soon, the official said.

The moves seek to ensure policy continuity after RBI chief Raghuram Rajan shocked markets 10 days ago, when he announced he would not seek reappointment in September.

The failure of negotiations on his possible return had sparked fears that Rajan’s departure could put at risk the inflation-targeting central banker’s gains in stabilising the Indian economy over the past three years.

Sending a reassuring message to markets, the official said that the list of candidates to replace Rajan had been whittled down to four – three of them central bank veterans, with the other the head of the country’s largest commercial bank.

The four were current RBI Deputy Governor Urjit Patel, former deputy governors Rakesh Mohan and Subir Gokarn, and State Bank of India Chair Arundhati Bhattacharya.

Another official from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said that Rajan was expected to join the search committee to appoint three external members of a new six-member RBI Monetary Policy Committee.

The objective was to ensure that the MPC is constituted as soon as possible, before the appointment of Rajan’s successor, both officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

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