,Former governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Urjit Patel who resigned from his post in December 2018 after a tussle with the government over the central bank’s autonomy has been appointed as the chairman of the New Delhi Based economic think tank National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) for a period of four years.
“National Institute of Public Finance & Policy is privileged to have Dr. Urjit Patel, former Reserve Bank Governor, as its Chairperson for a four year term commencing June 22, 2020," NIPFP said in a statement.
An NIPFP official under condition of anonymity said the governing body of NIPFP met under the outgoing chairman Vijay Kelkar where Patel’s name was cleared. “The chairman’s role is advisory in nature and he does not interfere in day today functioning of the institution. He chairs the board meetings which are held at least three to four times in a year," the official said.
The governing body of NIPFP comprises of three representatives of the Ministry of Finance, one representative of the Niti Aayog, one representative of the Reserve Bank of India, three representatives of sponsoring state governments, three distinguished economists, three heads of sister research institutions, and members of other sponsoring agencies and invitees.
“NIPFP records its deep sense of appreciation and gratitude for the significant contributions made by the outgoing Chairman, Dr. Vijay Laxman Kelkar during his tenure which has immensely helped the Institute towards scaling to its present level of growth and effectiveness," the statement added.
“Though government nominees are there in the board of NIPFP and the institution is largely funded by the government, usually it is the outgoing chairman who proposes the name of the new chairman and the board takes a non-partisan view," the official quoted earlier said.
Patel who served as a deputy governor under Raghuram Rajan succeeded him in September 2016 after government did not extent Rajan’s initial tenure of three years. However, the normally reticent Patel and the finance ministry engaged in a bitter face-off for weeks in 2018 over RBI’s autonomy as the centre sought to limit curbs on lending and gain access to RBI reserves. The friction came to light when RBI then deputy governor Viral Acharya warned that compromising the central bank’s independence could be “catastrophic". This was followed by then finance minister Arun Jaitley publicly accusing the central bank of sleeping on the job and for its failure to check indiscriminate lending by public sector banks between 2008 and 2014. Acharya followed Patel’s footsteps and resigned from his post within a gap of six months in June 2019.