Arvind Panagariya frontrunner in race for RBI chief

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may appoint Indian-American economist Arvind Panagariya, presently head of the government’s main economic advisory body, as the next Reserve Bank of India (RBI) boss.

Arvind Panagariya
Arvind Panagariya, who could be appointed RBI Governor in place of Raghuram Rajan.

Government sources state that Panagariya’s name is being touted to be the most likely successor of incumbent Raghuram Rajan.

Panagariya has in the past been the Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank and a Professor of Economics and Co-director, Center for International Economics, University of Maryland at College Park.

He has also worked for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in various capacities.

Earlier, reports had emerged that State Bank of India (SBI) chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya is the frontrunner among the contenders for the post.

Several names, including Vijay Kelkar, Rakesh Mohan, Ashok Lahiri, Urjit Patel, Subir Gokarn and Ashok Chawla, are doing the rounds for the RBI Governor’s post.

In a surprising announcement, Rajan had last month said that he would return to the academic world at the end of his term on September 4, 2016, adding he will always be available to serve his country when needed and asserted that his ‘successor’ would take the nation to new heights.

Rajan is currently on leave from the Chicago Booth School of Business where he holds the post of Distinguished Service Professor of Finance.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy had last month triggered speculation by asking the Centre to deny Rajan a second term, saying his hawkish policies have ruined the Indian economy.

However, Infosys founder Narayan Murthy later added his voice to the chorus of support for Rajan, saying the central bank chief should be offered two more terms in recognition of his track record in steering monetary policy.