Ra­jan’s deputy Ur­jit Pa­tel to take over as RBI gov­er­nor Sindhu and Sak­shi strike gold as re­wards pile up

FOR 3 YEARS Seen as close lieu­tenant to out­go­ing guv, Pa­tel likely to en­sure pol­icy con­ti­nu­ity

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Gau­rav Choud­hury gau­rav.choud­hury@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Re­serve Bank of In­dia (RBI) deputy gov­er­nor Ur­jit Pa­tel will take over as the cen­tral bank’s new head, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced on Satur­day, po­ten­tially sig­nal­ing its in­tent to con­tinue with the re­forms ini­ti­ated by out­go­ing gov­er­nor Raghu­ram Ra­jan.

An elated In­dia Inc hoped as much, say­ing that Pa­tel, 52, was the right man to take over from Ra­jan, who stunned fi­nan­cial mar­kets in June by an­nounc­ing he would step down in Septem­ber and re­turn to academia af­ter a sin­gle three­year term at the RBI.

“The Ap­point­ments Com­mit­tee of Cab­i­net has ap­proved the ap­point­ment of Dr Ur­jit R Pa­tel as gov­er­nor, Re­serve Bank of In­dia for a pe­riod of three years,” the gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment, end­ing more than two months of spec­u­la­tion over Ra­jan’s suc­ces­sor.

Pa­tel — who once com­pared RBI to an owl which is “vig­i­lant when oth­ers are rest­ing” — headed a panel that rec­om­mended land­mark changes to mon­e­tary pol­icy in In­dia, in­clud­ing a switch to in­fla­tion­tar­get­ing and the cre­ation of a panel to set in­ter­est rates.

“Thank you ev­ery­one for your warm wishes! I will give my best to live up to the ex­pec­ta­tion of peo­ple,” a tweet from an ac­count be­lieved to be of Pa­tel said.

The ac­count was not ver­i­fied though Union fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jati­ley sent out a con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sage tag­ging the Twit­ter han­dle.

“I’m sure he will suc­cess­fully lead the Re­serve Bank & con­trib­ute to In­dia’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” Jait­ley said.

Pa­tel will as­sume of­fice as the 24th RBI gov­er­nor on Septem­ber 4, the day Ra­jan’s term ends.

As In­dia’s top banker, Pa­tel’s pri­mary duty will be to keep prices sta­ble and en­sure credit flow to com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als. He will lead a team of about 17,000 and draw a salary of about Rs2,00,000 per month be­sides al­lowances and perks.

The RBI reg­u­lates banks, prints money and pre­vents volatil­ity in the for­eign ex­change mar­ket. It is also the gov­ern­ment’s banker and lender of last re­sort.

Ur­jit Pa­tel is ex­pected to keep up the cen­tral bank’s war on in­fla­tion as he pre­pares to take the helm next month. The cur­rent mon­e­tary pol­icy frame­work was steered by Pa­tel as he headed a com­mit­tee that in 2014 rec­om­mended tar­get­ing re­tail in­fla­tion to tame un­sta­ble prices, shift­ing the fo­cus away from whole­sale prices.

Dur­ing a dis­tin­guished ca­reer, Pa­tel has been with the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) be­tween 1990 and 1995 and worked at the US, In­dia, Ba­hamas and Myan­mar desks. He was on dep­u­ta­tion (1996-1997) from the IMF to the RBI and pro­vided ad­vice on de­vel­op­ment of the debt mar­ket, bank­ing sec­tor re­forms, pen­sion fund re­forms, real ex­change rate tar­get­ing and evo­lu­tion of the for­eign ex­change mar­ket.

PV Sindhu ar­guably fought the most in­tense bat­tle of her sport­ing ca­reer for an Olympic sil­ver medal at Rio.

Back home, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are locked in a game of one-up­man­ship over the bad­minton star.

As re­wards started to flow for bad­minton star PV Sindhu and wrestler Sak­shi Ma­lik, who ended the coun­try’s in­ter­minable wait at the Games with bronze in the 58kg cat­e­gory, the two states are ap­par­ently aim­ing to outdo each other to show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the Olympic heroes.

The Te­len­gana gov­ern­ment led the list, declar­ing cash award of Rs5 crore as well as 1000 sq yards of land for Hy­der­abad­based Sindhu, be­sides a job to her. Rao also de­clared a cash prize of Rs1 crore for Sindhu’s coach Pul­lela Gopic­hand for his bad­minton academy.

The an­nounce­ment at a news con­fer­ence came hours af­ter his Andhra Pradesh coun­ter­part N Chan­drababu Naidu promised Rs3 crore for Sindhu, who ran world No 1 Caro­line Marin of Spain close be­fore los­ing in the al­most 90-minute fi­nal. Telangana was carved out of Andhra in 2014 af­ter a long — and oc­ca­sion­ally vi­o­lent — ag­i­ta­tion, in­ten­si­fy­ing the bit­ter po­lit­i­cal ri­valry be­tween Rao and Naidu.

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