AFTER the whole Raghuram Rajan’s exit saga (Rexit, if you want a fancy name), who will succeed him has been the most debated topic around for the past few days. Instead of setting up a panel for the selection of next RBI governor, it has been decided that PM Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will do the selection, making it even more difficult to guess who will be the next. Nevertheless, we have put together a list of candidates who have a good chance at the post regardless of what the selection criteria is:
1. Arvind Subramanian
Perhaps the most natural choice would be of Arvind Subramanian, the current Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister. He has a stellar CV and succeeded Raghuram Rajan for the post of CEA when the latter left the Finance Ministry to become the governor. One major factor that could help Subramanian could be that he was selected by the current government whereas Rajan was Congress’ find.
2. Shaktikanta Das
The Economic Affairs Joint Secretary (Budget) has held many high positions like Joint Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, government of India Special Commissioner and Commissioner of Revenue Administration, Government of Tamil Nadu and Secretary, Industries Department in Government of Tamil Nadu. Such a record speaks volumes about Das’ capabilities, making him one of the favorites to get the post.
3. Rakesh Mohan
Rakesh Mohan is a world famous Indian economist and former Deputy RBI Governor. He was instrumental in the 1990s reforms and helped India stabilise its economy. He served as Executive Director of IMF from 2012-2015. He has remained as an advisor on various matters to the Indian government. He could be selected for the post citing his wealth of experience and expertise in the field.
4. Subir Gokarn
Another former Deputy RBI Governor, Subir Gokarn is well known being one of the youngest ever to hold that post in the 74-year old history of RBI. He was the Chief Economist of global rating agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) Asia-Pacific since August 2007 and has recently joined as Director-Research at Brookings India - an independent think-tank. The chances of Gokarn getting elected could be hampered citing his relatively lesser experience in the field.
5. Urjit Patel
Urjit Patel succeeded Gokarn as the Deputy RBI Governor and similar to Gokarn has gained prominence at a very young age. Patel has worked for the IMF and later joined the government of India to work with several High Level Committees at both Central and State Government level. His role in recent monetary policy reforms could go in his favour but still his chances of becoming the RBI governor are low when compared with other more experienced candidates.
6. Arvind Panagariya
Author of India: The Emerging Giant, Padma Bhushan Panagariya could bring invaluable inputs from his work experience with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in various capacities. He has an astute knowledge of world economics and could help India find its potential if he becomes the governor.
7. Arundhati Bhattacharya
After Subramanian, Bhattacharya could perhaps have the best chance of becoming RBI governor. Making long strides in the male dominated area, she has shown her mettle when she became the first woman Chairperson of State Bank of India. In 2016, she was listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, a testament to her capabilities. She will be the first woman RBI governor if chosen and the BJP government could also score a point for the same.
8. Upendra Kumar Sinha
The current Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chief Sinha has relatively less experienced but his role at SEBI has cemented his position as one of the emerging personalities. He was the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the Unit Trust of India Asset Management Company (UTIAMC), commonly referred to as UTI Mutual Fund. He could get the ticket if the government decides to go for a new face instead of opting for a well-known economist.
9. Kaushik Basu
Kaushik Basu is an Indian economist and academic who is Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, which speaks volumes about his calibre. He was also the Chief Economic Advisor to the PM till July 2012. His stellar CV includes awards like Padma Bhushan and The National Mahalanobis Memorial Medal. The only thing that could go against him is the tumbling economy during his tenure as the CEA.
Title image: Businessinsider