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All you need to know about Raghuram Rajan's 4 shortlisted successors

As global turmoil after Brexit intensifies, the government seems to be speeding up its search for a suitable candidate to succeed RBI governor Raghuram Rajan.

Reuters today reported that the government has cut down the shortlist to 4: RBI Deputy Governor Urjit Patel; former deputy governors Rakesh Mohan and Subir Gokarn; and State Bank of India Chair Arundhati Bhattacharya.

Earlier the names doing the rounds included ICICI Bank veteran and BRICS Bank head K V Kamath, former Advisor to Finance Minister Parthsarathi Shome, former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar, former CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla, former CEA Ashok Lahiri, noted economist R Vaidyanathan and Sebi Chairman U K Sinha.

However, if the latest rumours are to be believed the government has narrowed down to four.

Here's a short profile of all the four:

 All you need to know about Raghuram Rajans 4 shortlisted successors

Urjit Patel and Arundhati Bhattacharya

Urjit Patel, Rajan's inflation lieutenant:

⁠⁠⁠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.

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.

Arundhati Bhattacharya, the bad loan fighter:

A high-profile banker, Bhattacharya has been at the helm of India's largest lender, State Bank of India, since late 2013 and has earned praise from investors for her management of the bank's mountain of bad debt. She was named in the Forbes list of world's 100 most powerful women.

The 60-year-old Bhattacharya's term as the chair at State Bank of India ends later this year.

She was reportedly among the candidates interviewed to head India's capital markets regulator before the government made a last-minute decision to extend the term of the incumbent. 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.

Subir Gokarn and Rakesh Mohan

Subir Gokarn and Rakesh Mohan

Rakesh Mohan, the monetary policy expert:

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, secretary\s department, financial market department and also co-ordination work.

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.

As Mohan decided to quit the RBI to take up teaching assignment at Stanford Centre for International Development at Stanford University in 2009, then RBI Governor D Subbarao said, "Over the last several months, as I traversed a steep learning curve, I have grown to depend on him for advice and counsel. All of us in RBI will miss Mohan's counsel, expertise and his disarming candour."

Mohan was also in the race for the top slot at the central bank along with Subbarao.

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. He has been credited a central banker who handled the tough phase.

Subir Gokarn, researcher and economist:

Of the four learnt to be shortlisted, Subir Gokarn is the most low profile. He is a hardcore academician. He has served as RBI deputy governor from November 2009 to January 2013. As the deputy governor, he looked after monetary policy department, department of economic analysis and policy, department of statistics and information management, department of communication and deposit insurance and credit guarantee corporation. He also represented the RBI at the G-20 deputies’ forum.

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. His thesis was on the impact of capital market liberalisation on industrial performance in South Korea.

With PTI/Reuters

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Updated Date: Sep 19, 2016 10:38:52 IST

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