Urjit Patel, Arvind Subramanian lead race for RBI top job: report

Government is reported to have shortlisted three candidates - Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Urjit Patel, chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and former Reserve Bank of India deputy governor Rakesh Mohan - for the position of RBI governor.

Urjit Patel and Arvind Subramanian are among the frontrunners, as per reports.

Government was forced to look for a new governor after current governor Raghuram Rajan refused to seek another term amidst a running discord with the finance ministry over RBI's policies.

Rajan will step down when his three-year term as RBI governor ends on 4 September. He had already expressed his desire to return to academics.

The top two contenders are chief economic adviser to the Government of India Arvind Subramanian and RBI deputy governor Urjit Patel. Both Subramanian and Patel have very strong credentials for the job.

Subramanian is an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus and is also a Dennis Weatherstone Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute For International Economics. He was also an economist at the International Monetary Fund and is a former Senior Fellow with Centre for Global Development.

Patel headed the committee on 'Flexible Inflation Targeting' and is a former advisor-Energy & Infrastructure, Boston Consulting Group. He has also worked at the IMF and holds a PhD from Yale University in the USA.

The next governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), who is likely to be named in a few days by the government, however, faces daunting challenges besides the tremendous pressure from the government, industry and bankers to go soft on interest rates. While industry and government are expecting softer interest rates, a mammoth task of continuing the cleaning up of bank balance-sheets also lies ahead.