The government today named Shaktikanta Das, a former bureaucrat who retired as secretary to the department of financial affairs, as the new governor of the Reserve bank of India, in place of Urjit Patel who abruptly tendered his resignation yesterday.
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has cleared the appointment of Das as the central bank’s governor for a three-year term, the government said in a statement.
Das, as an experienced bureaucrat, has held key positions both under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as well the previous congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. Das had also worked closely with the central bank.
He is currently a member of the Finance Commission of India, and the government’s representative at the Group of 20 summits.
By appointing a former bureaucrat as the central bank head, the government expects better communication with the banking regulator and give markets better access to bank finance by easing lending rules.
Das, who is considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was the economic affairs secretary when the prime minister announced demonetisation in November 2016.
A retired 1980 batch IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre, Das was India’s Sherpa to G20. During his career as an IAS officer, he served in various capacities for the central and Tamil Nadu state governments.
Das’s appointment comes after a row between RBI and the government over independence of central bank and regulation of weak public sector lenders. The new governor will have to keep a middle path to mend relations at a time the role of the RBI and its policies on managing liquidity and regulation of banks have come under government scrutiny.
There was speculation that the Modi government may appoint an interim governor, as has been the practice in the past, with that post likely to go to N S Vishwanathan, currently the most senior among the four deputy governors at the central bank.
Besides Viswanathan other probables includes economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, IMF executive director Subir Gokarn, Department of Financial Services secretary Rajiv Kumarband Former finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia.