RBI’s Deputy Governor Urjit Patel was on Saturday appointed as the next Governor of the central bank after Raghuram Rajan demits office on September 4. There were speculations over several names for the RBI governor post ever since Rajan announced that he is not interested in second term following attack by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy.
Patel was first appointed as Deputy Governor for three years in January 2013 and was given an extension this January. He has run the RBI’s monetary policy department since 2013 and was being viewed as a leading contender for the governor’s job.
Patel has headed a committee that introduced landmark changes including a switch to inflation-targeting and adopting consumer prices as the new benchmark instead of wholesale prices. The changes he helped drive are considered to be among the most significant monetary policy reforms since India opened up its economy in 1991.
Patel, whose remit at the RBI included managing money markets, has faced criticism from market participants, however, with some traders and bankers complaining that he kept liquidity tight at a time when the RBI was lowering rates, starving banks of cash.
Patel did BA from the London School of Economics and obtained M. Phil. degree from Oxford University in 1986. He received his doctorate in Economics from Yale University in 1990.
Patel, born on October 28, 1963, received his doctorate in economics from Yale University in 1990) and M Phil from Oxford (1986).
He has worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) between 1990 and 1995 covering the US, India, Bahamas and Myanmar desks. Interestingly, he joined IMF as a Kenyan citizen.
He has also been a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution since 2009.
Despite having no media exposure in India, Patal also became an expert commentator of the UPA government’s ‘100 day’ action plan in 2009 in TV debates.
Prior to his appointment as the Deputy Governor at RBI in 2013, Patel was advisor (Energy and Infrastructure) with Boston Consulting Group, while he has also worked with Reliance Industries in the past.
Patel has authored technical publications, papers and comments in the areas of Indian macroeconomics, public finance, infrastructure, financial intermediation, international trade and the economics of climate change.
Some of his previous assignments include, President (Business Development), RIL; Executive Director and Member of the Management Committee, IDFC (1997-2006); Member of the Integrated Energy Policy Committee (2004-2006) and Member of the Board, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd.