A panel looking for a replacement for Subir Gokarn, whose three-year term as a Reserve Bank of India deputy governor ends in a week, has been unable to find many eligible candidates.
Of the three shortlisted so far, only one has confirmed interest.
The search committee, headed by RBI Governor D Subbarao, will have a third meeting on Monday to consider a few more names for the position that falls vacant on November 23.
The committee was also considering an extension for Gokarn, sources said.
"Three candidates were shortlisted by the committee in its last meeting but one is not available because of other commitments, while one has not confirmed yet. If we don't find a better replacement, Gokarn may be given an extension," said a person familiar with the matter.
All three on the list are renowned economists, with two working with international organisations outside India. The panel has not looked at anybody from the Centre.
It is believed Gokarn enjoys Subbarao's trust and the governor is in favour of giving him another term.
The 53-year-old economist also has age on his side. However, re-appointment would need concurrence of other members of the search panel. It comprises D K Mittal, secretary, department of financial services; P K Misra, secretary, department of personnel and training, and two independent experts.
The finance ministry might prefer a new candidate, especially given the recent differences between Mint Road and North Block over keeping interest rates unchanged, an issue on which Gokarn is believed to have played an important role.
If the committee shortlists two names, Finance Minister P Chidambaram will pick one, following which the file will be sent for approval of the appointments committee of the Cabinet.
Gokarn was chief economist with Standard & Poor's Asia-Pacific when made deputy governor in 2009, after Rakesh Mohan quit to pursue academic interests.
Besides economic research and policy, statistics and information management, he handles monetary policy.
RBI has four DGs, of which two are selected from within. Of the other two, one is from the ranks of commercial bankers and the other is selected from the academic world.
Anand Sinha and H R Khan were promoted as DG from within the ranks of RBI.
K C Chakrabarty was a commercial banker and Gokarn came from academics.
Image: Subir Gokarn | Photograph: Rediff Archives