Former bureaucrat Shaktikanta Das on Tuesday was appointed as new RBI governor for a period of three years. He had served as former secretary of Department of Economic Affairs from 2015 to 2017.
The latest development comes a day after Urjit Patel resigned from the post citing “personal reasons”. On Monday, Patel had stepped down after a fractious faceoff with the government, underlining the deepening trust deficit between the RBI and the central government.
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Das will assume the charge as the 25th Governor. His biggest challenge would be to handle the pressure from the government on issues such as the restructuring of loans, infusing liquidity and sticking to its strict default norms for resolution of bad debts in banks’ books, where the Centre has favoured a more lenient approach.
On all of these issues, especially over the last 12 months, Patel had steadfastly refused to toe the government line. Patel also presided over one of the most disruptive and controversial economic moves by a government in many decades–demonetisation or the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Das, a 1980-batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, was entrusted with the task of overseeing the re-monetisation of the economy after the shock decision to withdraw 86 per cent of the currency in circulation in November 2016.
After his retirement, he was named India’s G-20 sherpa and also appointed as a member of the 15th Finance Commission.
Das, a history graduate from the prestigious St. Stephen’s College in Delhi, was brought to the Finance Ministry soon after the BJP-led NDA government came to power in mid-2014 and given charge of the crucial revenue department.