Shaktikanta Das the New RBI Governor

Modi Government appointed former Finance Minister official Shaktikanta Das as the new RBI Governor
Shaktikanta Das the New RBI Governor

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Shri Shaktikanta Das, former secretary, department of economic affairs, as the Governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), for a period of three years".

Shaktikanta Das, member of the 15th Finance Commission and former Economic Affairs Secretary, will take over as the new RBI Governor, the government said on December 11.

Das's appointment comes a day after Urjit Patel unexpectedly resigned as the central bank chief, amid festering disagreements between the RBI and the Finance Ministry on several issues.

FM Arun Jaitley also welcomed Das's appointment as the RBI top boss.

It was not immediately known whether Das was shortlisted and selected through a process of the search committee, a practice that was adopted during Patel's appointment.

Das takes over three days before the RBI's scheduled board meeting on December 14, slated to discuss several contentious issues.

Unlike Patel or his predecessor Raghuram Rajan, Das will move straight into the top job at Mumbai's Mint Street without an overlap at the RBI headquarters.

While Patel was a RBI deputy governor for nearly three years before taking charge as the central bank chief, Rajan had come on board as the then governor D Subbarao's officer on special duty (OSD) to manage the transition, in August 2013, a month before he officially took over as the Governor.

Also, unlike Patel and many of his predecessors, Das, a retired Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer, is not a trained career economist. A former Economic Affairs secretary, he is currently India's Sherpa to G20, tasked with steering the negotiations at one of the most strategically important groups of countries. Subbarao, a former finance secretary, was the last IAS officer to serve as the RBI Governor.

Das, who studied history at Delhi University's St Stephen's College, was to remain India's G20 Sherpa was until December 31, 2018. Das is also a member of the 15th finance commission, a Constitutional body mandated to recommend measures and methods on how revenues, which the government earns through various taxes, need to be distributed between the Centre and states.

He will have to quit his existing official positions as India's G-20 Sherpa and a finance committee member after taking over as the 25th RBI governor.

Das, who retired as the Economic Affairs Secretary in the finance ministry in February 2017, had become the face of demonetization, the surprise move to outlaw Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from the midnight of November 8, 2016.

Das will be familiar with the RBI's functioning and will have to dig deep into his pocket of experience as a former member of the central bank, which he served in his capacity as the economic affairs secretary.

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