Hindustan Times (Delhi)

In a first, cab secy-led panel recommende­d guv

- Mahua Venkatesh mahua.venkatesh@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: The government, which appointed Urjit Patel as the new RBI governor, based its decision on the recommenda­tions of a search panel.

The financial sector regulatory appointmen­t search committee (FSRASC) — headed by cabinet secretary PK Sinha — set up last year, shortliste­d more than a half a dozen names for the post. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in consultati­on with finance minister Arun Jaitley, took the final decision.

Sources said the panel shortliste­d names of all possible candidates for the top job. However, the list was then pruned and finally only four names were sent to the government for the final decision.

The final list was sent to the government more than a month ago. “While the government took the final call, the committee provided that list, so the process has been much fairer and it is a shift from the selection-based approach,” said Rajiv Kumar, senior fellow, Centre for Policy Research, who is one of the three external experts of the FSRASC.

An official statement said: “The appointmen­t has been made based on the recommenda­tion of the FSRASC headed by cabinet secretary. The committee undertook an extensive exercise to suggest a panel of names to the ACC (Appointmen­ts Committee of the Cabinet).”

The new search system provides the Modi government an opportunit­y to underscore its support for an independen­t process to maintain the autonomy of the central bank.

“It sends a strong message that RBI will remain an autonomous body and that there will be no compromise in the selection process, and the best person will get the job,” an official source said.

“The panel undertook thorough technical scrutiny to ensure that the best people were shortliste­d,” Kumar added.

Patel, an able deputy of Rajan, has authored the monetary-policy framework. He also headed a committee that in 2014, which recommende­d targeting retail inflation to tame unstable prices, shifting the focus away from wholesale prices.

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