Urjit Patel Said to Be a Candidate for RBI Deputy Governor Post

India is considering economist Urjit Patel as one of three candidates for deputy governor at the nation’s central bank, a government official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The other candidates are World Bank economist Kalpana Kochhar and Subir Gokarn, with a decision probable today, the official said, asking not to be identified before an announcement. Gokarn was one of four deputy governors and was in charge of the monetary policy department until his three-year term ended on Dec. 31 after a one-month extension.

Governor Duvvuri Subbarao has taken charge of that policy unit until further notice, the Reserve Bank of India said yesterday. The central bank has so far resisted calls from Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram for cheaper credit, while signaling it may cut interest rates in coming months to help revive economic growth as inflation eases.

Patel is an adviser to the Boston Consulting Group, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, an ex-International Monetary Fund economist and a former adviser to the Reserve Bank, according to the Brookings website.

He didn’t answer questions when reached on his mobile phone and didn’t pick up subsequent calls. Gokarn didn’t answer calls to his office and home phones. Kochhar’s e-mail and phone number weren’t immediately available.

The economic and policy research and statistics units will also report directly to Subbarao following the reallocation of responsibilities, the central bank said in its statement.

The RBI said it expanded the portfolios of the three continuing deputy governors.

K.C. Chakrabarty will look after the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation, the department promoting the use of Hindi in banking and finance, and the Right to Information Division. Anand Sinha was given the communication and risk monitoring divisions, and Harun Rashid Khan the financial markets department.

Subbarao has left the repurchase rate at 8 percent since a 50 basis-point cut in April. Inflation exceeding 7 percent for most of last year curbed his scope to lower the benchmark to spur Asia’s third-largest economy.

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