Dr Urjit R Patel is set to take up his new position as the 24th chief of India's central bank on 4 September and he has some big shoes to fill. He will replace the present Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan. Dr Patel, who is currently serving as a deputy governor of RBI under Rajan, will take on some of the country's biggest financial challenges once he assumes office.
"Apart from continuity, what worked in Patel's favour is his knowledge of monetary policy. Plus, he is in sync with the government's growth aspiration," a source told The Times of India. Patel, who was selected from a list of five contenders, will go on to serve a three-year tenure.
With over 17 years experience in financial, energy and infrastructure sectors, Dr Patel has served as a consultant to the Ministry of Power, Department of Economic Affairs, from 1998 to 2001. He also served at the International Monetary Fund where he covered the US, India, Bahamas and Myanmar desks before joining RBI.
Apart from these, his other assignments included, president (business development), Reliance Industries; executive director and member of the management committee, IDFC; member of the Integrated Energy Policy Committee of the Government of India; and member of the Board, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
A student of Yale (Ph.D, Economics), and Oxford (MPhil), the 52-year-old authored the Committee Report in January 2014 which was instrumental in revising and strengthening the monetary policy framework. This eventually led the government to adopt 4% consumer price index as the inflation target. It was a significant departure from the past when the focus of markets and economists shaping monetary policy was wholesale prices index inflation or WPI.
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.
Despite the RBI cutting lending rates by 150 basis points (bps) since early 2015, banks have lowered their rates by roughly half of that citing that they can only manage another 10-15 bps more in coming months.