Urjit Patel recently resigned from his post as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India on December 10. In October, the differences between the RBI and the government became public and Patel’s exit was imminent. Though Patel gave personal reasons for quitting the RBI, market analyst attribute it to his confrontation with the government over the regulator’s independence and the regulation of banks. Apart from the confrontations, the recent meeting of the monetary policy committee, also saw a rift between the RBI officials.
In his place, the government on December 11 appointed Shaktikanta Das, member of the fifteenth finance commission, as the new governor of the RBI.
Das has been the face of the government during BJP’s controversial high-value currency can in November 2016. During demonetisation, his task was to reassure the financial markets about the direction of the central bank’s policies, and normalizing RBI’s relations with the government.
The government wants him to contain rupee’s recent depreciation and to win over the support of RBI executives.
On his appointment, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said:
“Shaktikanta Das has been a very senior and experienced civil servant. He spent almost his entire career in the management of finances and economic management of the country. I think he has the right credentials, he has been extremely professional and he has worked under various governments.”
However, his appointment has led to many raising the question regarding his educational qualifications. People have argued that he is not fit to hold the prestigious position in the RBI. While his predecessors Urjit Patel, and Raghuram Rajan, are PhD in Economics, Das holds degrees of graduation and post-graduation in History from Delhi University.
Twitterati argue that Das is no match to established economists like Rajan or Patel.
Not surprisingly, even voices of dissent were heard within the BJP. Former Gujarat Minister Jay Narayan Vyas took a dig at Das and questioned the credentials of Mr Das, an IAS officer, to head the central bank. He tweeted:
The New RBI Governor Das’s educational qualification is MA (History ) . Hope and Pray he doesn’t make RBI also a History .May God Bless the New Arrival !!
— Jay Narayan Vyas (@JayNarayan_Vyas) December 12, 2018
Das has been the first non-economist to hold this coveted position since 1990. Prior to Das, S Venkataraman, the 18th Governor of RBI, also came from a non-economics background.
Meanwhile, see how people reacted to his appointment:
Good spirit. Let us see which type of “history” Mr. Das create ? But that is true that our PM wants (DAS) an “obedient” Governor !
— Shirish Haria (@HariaShirish) December 12, 2018
BJP is more interested in changing history than creating history
— जयेश गाँधी ®™ (@JayeshGandhi_) December 13, 2018
They badly need a historian to create a new history of RBI.
— Abdussamad (@AbdussamadMM) December 12, 2018
Thankyou Sir , for standing in National Interest 🇮🇳
Its a shame for my country.
— Ankit Singh (@77_ankit) December 12, 2018
Chai Wala is PM
Doctor is heading ONGC
Lawyer is holding Finance Ministry
Defence minister is talking about Economy
Lady with fake qualifications was given Education Ministry
Now a person of history background is holding a Financial Institution
God save India#RBINewGovernor
— Saqib Khawaja 🇮🇳 ثاقب 🇮🇳 (@Saqibkhawaja_) December 13, 2018
Shaktikantadas our new RBI Governor
A bureaucrat not an economist
The Pied Piper will play the tune and the RBI will follow . Inevitable outcome will be that RBI’s reserves will be used for government doles .
Yet another institution will diminish .
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) December 12, 2018
As Mr Shaktikanta Das takes over as RBI governor, a few shots of blast from the past.. pic.twitter.com/xBXTmXATZY
— Keerthi Narayan (@Keerthinarayan) December 11, 2018
So the new @RBI Governor (Shaktikanta Das) is a Retired IAS officer and has a BA and a MA in History.
When did Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) turn into Reserve Bank of India (RBI)? And people said MA in History is a dead end 😏
— Advaid (@Advaidism) December 11, 2018
Here’s former cabinet colleague of Narendra Modiji and senior BJP leader from Gujrat on appointment of Shaktikanta Das !!! pic.twitter.com/EXK4UkKeMJ
— amey tirodkar (@ameytirodkar) December 12, 2018