Prime Minister Narendra Mod-led central government on Tuesday appointed Michael Debaprata Patra as the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It is to be noted that the appointment of Michael Patra comes nearly six months after former deputy governor Viral Acharya’s pre-mature resignation.
Michael Patra, who is currently an executive director at the RBI, will serve as the deputy governor for three years. However, the date of Patra’s appointment has not been notified yet.
Patra is likely to take charge of the monetary policy portfolio, which was previously managed by Acharya.
After assuming charge, Patra will be the fourth RBI deputy governor alongside NS Vishwanathan, BP Kanungo, and MK Jain. Shaktikanta Das is the governor of RBI.
Acharya had resigned in July 2019, six months before the scheduled end of his term, citing “unavoidable personal reasons”.
The RBI, which had previously not disclosed the resignation and was forced to do so following a media report, said: "Consequential action arising from his letter is under consideration of the Competent Authority".
Acharya had in a hard-hitting speech in October last year brought to light a growing rift between the BJP-led government and the RBI headed by the then Governor Urjit Patel. A staunch defender of the central bank's autonomy, he had made public disputes with the government over issues ranging from lending curbs, more cash availability to non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), and who controls the RBI's reserves.
In his speech, he had warned that undermining the central bank's independence could be "potentially catastrophic", a possible indication of the RBI being pushed to relax its policies ahead of general elections.
Acharya, CV Starr Professor of Economics, Department of Finance, New York University and Stern School of Business, was appointed RBI Deputy Governor for three years in December 2016. He joined the RBI in January 2017. He had joined the central bank at a time when it was facing criticism for repeated changes in the rules related to deposit and withdrawal of money, post-demonetisation.
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