Urjit Patel is the new Reserve Bank of India Governor, the Finance Ministry announced on Saturday. Patel will succeed Raghuram Rajan as the RBI chair once he steps down on September 3, after his term comes to an end. He will be India’s 24th RBI Governor.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to discuss the appointment of the next RBI Governor, a topic that has seen much speculation in the last few months.
One of the RBI’s four deputy governors, Patel, 52, was reappointed in January for another three years. He has run the central bank’s monetary policy department since 2013 and is viewed as a leading contender for the governor’s job.
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.
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, according to a Nomura note, is considered a ‘hawk’ on his monetary policy stance.