Meet India's new central banker

Microsoft CEO celebrates India's tech pioneers
Microsoft CEO celebrates India's tech pioneers

India has named a new top central banker.

Urjit Patel will assume the role with the Reserve Bank of India on September 4.

His predecessor, Raghuram Rajan, announced in June that he would step down as RBI governor, setting off a wave of speculation over the circumstances of his departure and the future of India's economy.

A former IMF chief economist, Rajan tamed inflation, slowed the rupee's decline and made a valiant effort to shake up India's antiquated banks. Yet he was the first RBI governor in more than two decades to not have his first contract renewed.

Despite his sterling credentials, Rajan was made head of the central bank while the Congress Party was in government, and there were questions over the level of support he enjoyed once the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power.

Subramanian Swamy, a famouly combative BJP official, had accused Rajan of "wrecking the economy" and being "mentally not fully Indian."

Related: India's puzzle: How do you replace a 'rock star' central banker?

Like Rajan, Patel has western ties. He holds a bachelor's degree from the London School of Economics, a master's from Oxford University and a doctorate from Yale.

Patel has been with the RBI since 2013, serving as the deputy governor.

Economists said that if an RBI insider such as Patel was nominated, the central bank's independence, which has come under pressure in recent years, was likely to be preserved.

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