Urjit Patel has become the eighth Deputy Governor in Reserve Bank’s history to be made its Governor and the sixth with an experience at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 52-year-old Patel, who was today appointed RBI Governor for a tenure of three years and would take charge after Rajan demits office on September 4, was with IMF between 1990 and 1995, during which he worked on the US, India, Bahamas and Myanmar desks.
Later, he was on deputation (1996-1997) from the IMF to the Reserve Bank of India, before becoming a Consultant (1998-2001) to the Ministry of Finance.
Patel would be the 24th Governor of RBI. 53-year-old Rajan, who was among the youngest to become RBI Governor three years ago, earned a reputation of fighting inflation that also led to criticism by some quarters including by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, but it was Patel who was known as the ‘inflation warrior’ of the former IMF Chief Economist during his tenure at the Mint Street.
Incidentally, it was a Saturday when Rajan surprised everyone on June 18 about his decision against a second term, while the announcement for Patel’s appointment also came on a Saturday.
Rajan was also appointed for a period of three years, which has been the case for most Governors so far.
Patel is the eighth Deputy Governor at RBI to be made Governor, the last being Y V Reddy. Besides, at least five former Governors had served at IMF before becoming RBI chief, while a few others went on to work at IMF after leaving the central bank.
However, some deputy governors served as governors only for interim periods. RBI’s second Governor James Taylor (1937-1943) was the first one to serve as Deputy Governor before being made Governor.
His successor for the top post of RBI C D Deshmukh was also Deputy Governor before he became governor on the demise of his predecessor.
K G Ambegaokar, another deputy governor, was appointed as the interim governor for about one and half months in 1957 till H V R Iengar could take over. B N Adarkar, also a deputy, held the post of governor during the interregnum till S Jagannathan could take over.
A Ghosh was the deputy governor since 1982 when he was appointed governor for a brief period of 15 days in 1985 till R N Malhotra could take over.
On the other hand, C Rangarajan, before his appointment as the governor in December 1992, held charge as Deputy Governor for over a decade. Y V Reddy also had a six-year tenure as deputy governor and also served as India’s Executive Director at IMF before becoming RBI Governor in 2003.