Home >Politics >Policy >Urjit Patel: A profile

Mumbai: Urjit Patel, 52, a deputy governor of the central bank for the past three years, is the key architect for the fundamental change in how monetary policy is framed in India.

In 2014, it was a committee headed by Patel that recommended that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should follow an inflation-targeting approach, using consumer price inflation as the base, and a committee of the central bank and not the governor take the call on monetary policy.

It is perhaps apt that he takes over as RBI governor at a time when the government has notified a 4% medium-term inflation target (with tolerance levels of +/- 2 percentage points) and has kick-started the process to appoint the members of the monetary policy committee.

While the government’s decision to elevate Patel as governor signals continuity and stability with respect to the country’s macroeconomic policies, those hoping for a dovish governor may be disappointed.

Patel sees inflation control as critical to stable growth and feels that fiscal consolidation is critical to RBI meeting its inflation target.

Also read: Urjit Patel: An agenda of continuity

“The fact that there will be some continuity of message now as the governor will be someone who is well aware of the internal workings of the RBI. The fact that the appointed person is not someone from the bureaucratic set up also bodes well," said Abizer Diwanji, partner and head, financial services, EY.

Seen as a key lieutenant of incumbent governor Raghuram Rajan, Patel was initially appointed for a three-year term in January 2013.

His term was later renewed earlier this year.

A Ph.D in economics from Yale University and a M.Phil from Oxford, he was an advisor to the Boston Consulting Group before his stint at the RBI.

Patel has also worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and with think-tank, The Brookings Institution.

Also read: Raghuram Rajan’s game-changing tenure

When he was on the part of the IMF in the late 90s, Patel was on deputation to the RBI and advised the central bank on issues such as the development of the debt market, banking sector and pension fund reforms, real exchange rate targeting and evolution of the foreign exchange market.

He was also a consultant to the ministry of finance between 1998 to 2001.

Later, he was part of several government committees and taskforces including those on direct taxes, infrastructure, telecom, civil aviation reforms and government pension systems.

His private sector stints include assignments with Reliance Industries Ltd and IDFC Ltd. He is also a board member of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Vishwanath Nair contributed to this story.

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