News Highlight: Government appoints Shaktikanta Das as RBI governor for 3 years

Dec 11, 2018

NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday appointed former economic affairs secretary and current member of the finance commission Shaktikanta Das as the new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor. 

A former economic affairs secretary from 2015 to 2017, Das worked closely with the central bank. He is currently a member of the Finance Commission of India, and the government’s representative at the Group of 20 summits. PM Narendra Modi initially brought Das into the Finance Ministry to head up the revenue department, later moving him to economic affairs, where he helped to spearhead the prime minister’s controversial demonetisation drive in 2016, Bloomberg reported. 

“The government should be complimented for deciding on Urjit Patel's successor so quickly. Now it is up to Shaktikanta Das to prove his credentials. IAS officers such as D Subbarao and YV Reddy have proved themselves as great RBI governors, who refused to toe the government's line,” said VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services. 

Das with his rich experience in finance and economic management and expertise in team management has the competence to heal the wounds that have risen from the friction between the central bank and the government, Vijayakumar added. 

"Everybody will wait and watch the first few steps to see if RBI continues to be as independent as it has always been. I feel everything will work out very well as the incoming governor is also very experienced with a strong background,” Reuters quoted Jayant Manglik, President of Religare Broking as saying. 

A 1980 batch Tamil Nadu batch IAS officer, Das took charge as Union revenue secretary in June 2014. His was the first high-level bureaucratic rejig in the Finance Ministry after the Narendra Modi-led government took over, an indication of his being in the good books of the prime minister. 

As the economic affairs secretary, Das was the key man behind the planning and execution of demonetisation drive. Most of the public statements on demonetisation had been made by him which led to the impression that the government was at the forefront of the drive instead of the RBI. 

Das is known as an experienced bureaucrat who has held key positions both under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as well the previous Indian National Congress-led government, Reuters reported. 

His appointment is likely to cheer markets as investors expect communication between the government and the central bank to improve following a public spat that deepened an existing rift between the two sides, the agency said. 

Source: Economic Times