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Gokarn goes, RBI rejigs key portfolios

Mumbai, Jan. 1: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today reallocated the portfolios of three deputy governors as the Centre has yet to pick the successor to Subir Vithal Gokarn whose three-year term ended on Monday.

Over the past few days, there was a great deal of speculation over whether Gokarn would get a two-year extension. But it wasn’t to be.

Urjit Patel, an economist with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), has reportedly emerged as the top contender for the post. However, there was no official announcement from the capital to this effect at the time of going to press.

In a statement today, the central bank said as Gokarn’s term as deputy governor came to a close on December 31, the portfolios of its deputy governors have been redistributed. According to the change, the key monetary policy department, which was under Gokarn, will now report directly to governor Duvvuri Subbarao.

In addition to the existing portfolios, K.C. Chakrabarty will now look after deposit insurance and credit guarantee corporation, the rajbhasha department and the right to information division.

On the other hand, Anand Sinha will look after the departments of communication and risk monitoring. H.R. Khan will oversee the financial markets department. The department of economic and policy research, department of statistics and information management and monetary policy will report directly to the governor till further orders, the RBI statement added.

Subir Gokarn was appointed as the deputy governor of the RBI in November 2009 for a period of three years. The finance ministry had extended his tenure till December 31 after his term expired in November. Although Subbarao was keen on his extension, it is learnt, that Gokarn was not interested.

A couple of names have been tossed around as Gokarn’s successor. Initially, it was thought that Kalpana Kochhar, World Bank’s chief economist for South Asia, would be chosen. But Patel has now suddenly come into the reckoning.

Patel, who was earlier with Reliance Industries Ltd, has also worked at the International Monetary Fund. He has been an adviser to both the RBI and the finance ministry. In the past, he has been executive director with IDFC.

 
 
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