Demonetisation face Shaktikanta Das is new RBI governor

Last Updated 11 December 2018, 18:39 IST

Shaktikanta Das, former economic affairs secretary and the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move, was on Tuesday appointed the new RBI governor, a day after incumbent Urjit Patel resigned abruptly, citing personal reasons.

The 61-year-old retired bureaucrat is currently the member of the 15th Finance Commission and the government’s representative at G20 summits. He was widely perceived to be a contender for the post of RBI governor after the exit of Raghuram Rajan in 2016.

Das, with a three-year term, will be the 25th RBI governor and takes charge at a time when the government and the central bank are at loggerheads on issues such as autonomy, sharing of reserves and RBI’s tough stance on weak public sector banks.

As a central bank governor, his first assignment will be the RBI Board meeting on Friday, where government representatives are expected to take up the issue of governance reforms which may give the board more powers in the central bank’s decision-making process.

A postgraduate in history, Das has served in various positions both at the Centre and in Tamil Nadu. He was also on the board of RBI.

A 1980 batch Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, Das was instrumental in negotiating an information exchange with Switzerland, which would allow India to access information about Indian accounts in Swiss banks.

Das was brought to the finance ministry as revenue secretary by Prime Minister Modi and within no time, was elevated to economic affairs secretary, where he became an instant favourite for his deft handling of demonetisation.

There were instances when Das would spend long hours in the night to answer telephone calls on note ban, not only from mediapersons but also from those left in the lurch and in confusion due to frequent changes in rules on demonetisation.

He was the only official spokesperson on demonetisation-related queries at a time when the RBI was doing everything from behind the scene.

Das was also the first bureaucrat who criticised the methodology of global rating agencies and sought a sovereign rating upgrade for India amid two back-to-back reforms — demonetisation and GST.

(Published 11 December 2018, 13:17 IST)

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