Government has narrowed down its list of candidates to become the next governor of the Reserve Bank of India to four. The four are current RBI Deputy Governor Urjit Patel, former deputy governors Rakesh Mohan and Subir Gokarn, and State Bank of India Chair Arundhati Bhattacharya. Here is a short profile on each one of them:
1) Arundhati Bhattacharya
Currently the chairperson of State Bank of India (SBI), Arundhati started working in SBI in 1977 as a probationary officer. Her tenure has witnessed outstanding developments at the bank as it surpassed the heights of success. The 60-year-old Bhattacharya’s term as the chair at State Bank of India ends later this year.
A visionary, she is the first woman in SBI’s history to be appointed as its chairperson in 2013.
She was recently ranked among the top five most powerful women in finance by the Forbes magazine. She is also ranked 25th in Forbes’ list of ‘The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’, which features top female leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, philanthropists and CEOs.
She has spent her entire career in the banking sector and never held any policy roles.
Bhattacharya has been instrumental in transforming the over 200 year-old bank into technology-driven lender with SBIiNTOUCH digital banking outlet, mobile wallet State Bank Buddy, State Bank Anywhere – a retail internet banking based application for smartphones, SBI Tech Learning Centres for educating customers and SBI e-Pay, a payment aggregator service, among others.
Under her leadership, SBI grew its network to around 17,000 branches and services over 330 million customers with presence in 36 countries.
Born in Kolkata to a Bengali family, Arundhati studied English literature at the city’s Brabourne College and Jadavpur University. Her husband is an ex-professor of IIT Kharagpur and the couple have a daughter.
2) Urijit Patel
One of the RBI’s four deputy governors, Patel, 52, was reappointed in January for another three years.
Patel joined the central bank on January 11, 2013, months before Raghuram Rajan took charge as the Governor, and has been heading the monetary policy department. Rajan and Patel had earlier worked together in the IMF in Washington.
Seen as a close lieutenant to Rajan, Patel 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.
Prior to his appointment as the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, Patel was Advisor (Energy & Infrastructure), The Boston Consulting Group.
Patel is a Ph.D. (Economics) from Yale University (1990) and M. Phil. from Oxford (1986). He has been a non resident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution since 2009.
3) Subir Gokarn
Subir Gokarn is a hardcore academician. He has served as RBI deputy governor from November 2009 to January 2013. He was replaced by Urijit Patel in 2013.
He was also appointed as an Executive Director on the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Gokarn has also served as chief economist of Standard & Poor’s Asia-Pacific, and chief economist and Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) Chair in Industrial Development at the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). He was also an associate professor at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research in Mumbai.
An economics post-graduate from the Delhi School of Economics, he did Ph.D. at the Case Western Reserve University in the US.
4) Rakesh Mohan
Rakesh Mohan has served as deputy governor at the Reserve Bank of India twice: from September 2002 to October 2004, and then from July 2005 to June 2009. In 2004, he moved to the Union Finance Ministry as the Economic Affairs Secretary. During his second stint as deputy governor, Mohan looked after the monetary policy department, department of statistical analysis and computer services, department of economic analysis and policy, financial market department and also co-ordination work.
He was appointed as an Executive Director of the IMF in November 2012 and in April 2010, he joined Nestle India, as a non-executive director.
Mohan’s second term was also remarkable because of the global development that ended in a crippling crisis that the global economy is yet to recover from completely. He is seen as an expert in monetary policy and is credited, along with YV Reddy, for insulating the Indian economy from the global financial crisis.
Born in 1948, Mohan has a masters degree and doctorate in economics from Princeton University and BA in Economics from Yale University. He is also a Bachelor of Science in Electrical.
(With inputs from PTI/Reuters)