Everything You Must Know About Urjit Patel, the Next RBI Governor
An RBI insider, Patel was seen as a close lieutenant of his predecessor, Raghuram Rajan.
Urjit Patel was seen as a close lieutenant of Raghuram Rajan. Now, the current deputy governor in charge of monetary policy at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will serve as the next governor for a three-year term.
Rajan, a former International Monetary Fund chief economist, had stunned financial markets in June by announcing he would step down in September and return to academia after a single three-year term at the RBI.
Patel, 52, headed a panel that recommended landmark changes to monetary policy in India, including a switch to inflation-targeting and the creation of a panel to set interest rates. He will start his three-year term on 4 September.
Illustrious Career, Education
Patel, who has an MPhil from Oxford University and a doctorate from Yale University, had widely been seen as the one ensuring the most continuity among the candidates believed to be in the running to be the next governor.
Like Rajan, Patel has spent several years overseas and has about 25 years of experience in economic policy making.
He had been reappointed in January for another three years as deputy governor in charge of monetary policy, a department he has run since 2013.
The government is soon expected to announce the composition of a six-member monetary policy committee to decide on interest rates. It will be made up of Patel and two other RBI officials, along with three members appointed by the government.
Rajan, who succeeded in halving the inflation rate from the double digit levels prevailing when he took over, also persuaded the government to adopt inflation targeting, setting a medium term central target of 4 percent, within a range of two to six percent — another policy endorsed by Patel.
As the new governor, Patel will get to implement the policies he had helped shape.
The new governor takes over at a time when inflation has bust out of the top end of that range. Consumer inflation accelerated to 6.07 percent in July, the fourth consecutive month it has stayed above the RBI’s near-term target of 5 percent by March.
Aside from controlling inflation, the new governor will have to follow through on efforts to clean-up banks’ bad loans so that they can once again support the investments needed if India is to keep its place as one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Patel will also have to navigate India‘s tricky political scene.
Right-wing members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had criticised Rajan for some of his speeches on economic matters and for not cutting interest rates faster.
What the Experts Have to Say
(With inputs from Reuters and BloombergQuint.)
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