The current Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Urjit Patel, will become the 24th Governor of the Indian central bank on 4th September this year. He succeeds Raghuram Rajan. His appointment will end two months’ speculation about Raghuram Rajan’s successor.
As deputy governor, Urjit Patel, 53, headed the panel responsible for drafting the monetary policy report, which became the basis of the ongoing reforms at the RBI. His appointment is seen by many economy observers as a clear signal of Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi government’s commitment to ensure policy continuity, notably in terms of inflation cap targets.
Kenya-born Patel undertook his academic pursuits from leading global institutions of learning-Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1963, an M. Phil from Oxford University (Great Britain) in 1986, and a doctorate from Yale University (US) in 1990.
Later, he worked for International Monetary Fund (IMF) desks in the US, India, Bahamas and Myanmar. In 1996, Patel was deputed from the IMF to the Reserve Bank of India, where he played an important role in development of debt market, banking sector reforms, pension fund reforms, real exchange rate targeting and evolution of the foreign exchange market in India.
Dr. Patel also brings to the table a decade of experience and expertise in finance, energy and infrastructure as he was associated with The Boston Consulting Group, an international consultancy. He was also the president of Business Development at Indian diversified group Reliance Industries Limited between 1997 to 2006.
Favored by the Prime minister
Between 2000 and 2004, Patel had worked with several Indian Central and State government committees, such as the Task Force on Direct Taxes, the Ministry of Finance, and the Secretariat for the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Infrastructure. He had also served the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs between 1998 and 2001, as a consultant.
So Patel was aptly suited for the top post at the Central Bank given his academic and professional credentials. No wonder, this earned him many fans in the successive governments and impressed many PMs or Finance ministers, including P V Narasimha Rao, Dr. Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, and his predecessor Raghuram Rajan, among others.
In 2013, when he was offered to become the deputy governor of RBI, his recommendation letter was written by none other than the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. “He is very important for the country,” Dr. Singh had said.
Interestingly, according to the reports appearing in the Indian media, Patel recently moved to a small house to give his mother company and is reported to have declined an offer to head the newly formed BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Bank in Shanghai to be with his mother.