The new RBI governor in waiting Urjit Patel, who will take over on 4 September, is already being hailed as the government's best bet in keeping a tight lid on inflation, much like from outgoing governor Raghuram Rajan.
Patel is someone who is well versed with the changing dynamics of Indian economy since early 1990s. Even during the current tenure under Raghuram Rajan, the RBI governor-designate is best-known for preparing a report that helped India shift to an inflation targeting regime for setting interest rates.
While the outgoing RBI governor is known as somebody who openly took on the government's critical reform initiatives in last year or so, Patel is known as someone who has so far mainly stuck to his mandate and commented mostly on monetary policy-related issues.
However, here are some of the lesser-known facts about Patel and his previous stints at the government.
1) In 1996, Urjit Patel was part of the IDFC, a financial institution formed to channelise long-term funds into infrastructure. However, in 2004, Patel along with others in the top management resigned protesting against then finance minister Jaswant Singh's proposal to handover the institution to State Bank of India. The merger plan did not succeed, and the crisis was avoided after the UPA government came to power. Patel was later made the joint CEO of IDFC.
2) While Patel has been appointed by the current Modi-led government, this low-profile man was also the favourite of many regimes including the PV Narasimha Rao government in the early 1990s. Patel was appointed as a non-executive director on the board of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation in 2005 by the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
3) In 2009, when the UPA formed the government for the second successive time, Patel offered his expert comments for a Hindi news channel in a series tracking the government's 100-day action plan. The response to his comments were much appreciated, and in January 2013, he became was appointed the RBI deputy governor office.
4) According to a Business Standard report, Patel's appointment at the RBI under the then governor D Subbarao in 2013 had surprised many, considering a hard-hitting report he authored with late Gangadhar Darbha in 2012 after the government quietly moved away from its medium-term objective of 3 percent inflation. "What is clear is that persistence of elevated inflation is agreeable to some policy makers. The authorities want to take credit for India's growth performance but stay blameless on the price front- a case of heads I win, tails you lose," the BS report quoting a Brookings report.
5) As part of the IMF in the late 90s, Patel was on deputation to the RBI and advised the central bank on issues such as the development of the debt market, banking sector and pension fund reforms, real exchange rate targeting and evolution of the foreign exchange market, Mint reported. He was also a consultant to the ministry of finance between 1998 to 2001.