January 14, 2020 / 6:35 AM / 4 days ago

India appoints Michael Patra as RBI deputy governor

FILE PHOTO: CCTV cameras are seen installed above the logo of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) inside its headquarters in Mumbai, February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s government appointed career central banker Michael Patra as one of the Reserve Bank of India’s four deputy governors for a three-year term, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

He will fill a vacancy left by former deputy governor Viral Acharya, who resigned last June, six months before the scheduled end of his term in office.

Acharya cited personal reasons for his departure, but had previously clashed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over an erosion of the central bank’s independence.

He was the third key senior central bank official under the Modi government to resign, following the departures of former RBI governors Raghuram Rajan in 2016 and Urjit Patel in December 2018.

Patra, currently an executive director at the RBI, had applied for a deputy govenor’s post in 2017.

He has been a part of the central bank’s monetary policy committee since its inception, and has long been viewed as a monetary policy hawk.

However, since Governor Shaktikanta Das took office in December, Patra has voted for three successive rate cuts and has said the economy needs fiscal support in the current environment.

“It’s an excellent decision. He is an accomplished monetary economist with not just strong academic credentials but also has rich understanding of ground level economic realities of India. This is the best choice in my opinion,” said Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist at L&T Financial Holdings.

Reporting by Swati Bhat and Manoj Kumar; editing by Richard Pullin

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