QUITS: Urjit Patel resigns as governor of Reserve Bank over "personal reasons"; Modi praises his role in central bank


NEW DELHI: RBI governor Urjit Patel has resigned. Having taken up the post in 2016, shortly before the note demonetisation announcement, Patel had a three-year term which was to end by September, 2019. While he stated on Monday that he was resigning on account of personal reasons, it is well-known that the top functionaries of RBI and the Modi government were at loggerheads over matters of RBI’s autonomy. 

Compared to the Raghuram Rajan era in RBI, Patel’s leadership was less impressive. Rajan was more assertive in his dealings with the government, which led to his exit.

The 55-year-old Patel was the 24thgovernor of RBI. Rajan had reportedly been denied a second term by the government, before Patel was brought in. Patel’s resignation came shortly before the next RBI board meeting set for December 14.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that Patel “leaves behind a great legacy …We will miss him immensely.” Stated the PM: “Dr Urjit Patel is an economist of a very high calibre with a deep and insightful understanding of macro-economic issues. He steered the banking system from chaos to order and ensured discipline. Under his leadership, the RBI brought financial stability.”
Yet, Patel being an appointment of the Modi government, the Prime Minister cannot escape the embarrassment that the resignation has left behind after several problematic months. With the Parliament starting its winter session Tuesday, the government will have to face grilling from the Opposition benches over the way an institution like RBI has come to demonstrate a weakening of its earlier strengths.

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Urjit Patel had his education in University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science, and obtained a doctorate in Economics from Yale University in 1990. He was with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) between 1990 and 1995. He came to RBI on a two-year deputation, and then joined the Union finance ministry as a consultant (1998-2001). He also worked as a board member for the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation for two years between 2006 and 2007. He was with the Reliance Industries for a period. Patel was appointed as Deputy Governor of RBI for a three year period from 2013, prior to his promotion as governor. IHN-NN
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