State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya and Urjit Patel, deputy governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are among the long list of names emerging as contenders for the post of governor at the Reserve Bank of India. Financial Services Secretary Hashmukh Adhia’s name is also doing the rounds as a surprise inclusion in the list of probables.
Other names in the reckoning are former RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn, SEBI Chairman U.K. Sinha and eminent economist and former chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu, according to government sources.
The SBI chairperson Ms. Bhattacharya has steered the largest bank in the country ably since she took over in 2013. Despite the rise in bad loans in the last two quarters following an asset quality review process mandated by the RBI, the health of SBI is better than that of other public sector banks. Under Ms. Bhattacharya, the SBI has also kick-started consolidation among public sector banks, with its decision to merge its five associate banks within itself.
Mr. Patel has been serving as deputy governor of the central bank for more than three years. He was appointed by the previous UPA government and his tenure was extended by the current NDA government last year indicating the present dispensation’s comfort-level with the economist. A committee under his chairmanship had proposed inflation-targeting and the setting up of a monetary policy committee to which the government has agreed.
Mr. Adhia may be also considered given the government’s intentions around banking reforms and consolidation among public sector, banking industry sources said. Mr Adhia, as financial services secretary, is credited with banking reforms such as Gyan Sangam and Indra Dhanush as well social security schemes of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna, Jivan Jyoti Bima Yojna and Atal Pension Yojana, as also for the scheme of micro-financing — the Mudra Bank.