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Bhattacharya, Das being considered for RBI chief post

Looking to finalise RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s successor at the earliest, government is considering SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, former RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das among the probable contenders. 

Highly placed sources said that other names being considered include RBI Deputy Governor Urjit Patel, former Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan and Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian.

“It (announcement of new Governor) will happen reasonably in advance. We don’t want unnecessary speculation,” said a top government source, adding that “the process of selection is already on”. With Rajan’s term ending on September 4, sources said the government would like to announce the next Governor of the Reserve Bank of India by July end. They also said the government will not be setting up a search panel for selection of the new Reserve Bank Governor. Interestingly, some of the contenders whose names are doing the rounds at the Finance Ministry, including Patel and Subramanian, have worked at IMF - same as Rajan.

Besides, Mohan has been the representative of India as Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund, a post currently held by Gokarn. Bhattacharya, sources further said, is unlikely to get an extension as chairperson of State Bank of India, indicating that she could be considered for the top job in the Reserve Bank. Her three-year term ends in September.

The announcement of the new RBI Governor could be made as early as July end, sources said, adding that a bureaucrat might be the last option. Buffeted by political attacks coupled with unending speculation over his continuance, Rajan on Saturday announced that he would return to academia after expiry of his term on September 4, putting to rest all speculation over the issue. 
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