Retired bureaucrat Shaktikanta Das to assume charge of Governor of RBI
Retired bureaucrat, Shakthikanta Das, IAS, was yesterday appointed as the new of the Reserve Bank of India. Das, who earlier served as Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs from 2015-17, will be the 25th Governor of the Central Bank, who will be at the helm for a period of three years.
The Union Government has appointed Das, after Urjit Patel relinquished his position, citing personal reasons yesterday, though the reason cited is not the only reason for his departure. Patel had major standoff with the Union Government for quite sometime, which ended up in his resignation. Now the question is that, even Patel could not cope up with the pressure exerted by the Union Government, will Das be able to handle the pressure, only time can tell. Das, being a seasoned civil servant has had a long stint in various departments. The new Governor will have to handle sensitive issues including restructuring of loans, infusing liquidity and adhering to stringent default norms for resolution of bad debts in RBI’s books, where the Union Government has taken a more relaxed approach.
What is more, the Federal Government had put pressure on Patel on all these above mentioned issues, but he refused to budge. Most reluctantly, he was the help of the Central Bank when the Union Ministry took some major policy decisions on the economy including demonetisation of currency notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 denominations, which was the most disruptive move ever taken by the Federal Government after Indira Gandhi who banned Rs.100 denomination notes a few decades back. Das is a 1980-batch Administrative officer, who has had the experience of monitoring the re-monitistion of the economy by the Modi Government. Post retirement, Das was named India’s G-20 sherpa and also made a member of the 15th Finance Commission. Since Das seems to be the confidant of the ruling dispensation, will he toe the line or how is going to handle tough situations without the RBI losing its powers, is the question that is lurking in everyone’s minds.