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Change of guard at RBI expected
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi | June 11, 2003 10:10 IST
There is a move to effect a change of guard at the Reserve Bank of India.
Governor Bimal Jalan, whose current extended tenure ends in October 2004, may be brought in as a member of the Rajya Sabha (in which three vacancies for nominated members are due to be filled by August 26).
Subsequently, Jalan is expected to be entrusted with additional responsibility.
No decision on this has been taken as yet. Speculation has begun in New Delhi on Jalan's possible successor.
Among those being considered for the top job at Mint Street include Vijay L Kelkar, advisor to Finance Minister Jaswant Singh, S Narayan, the outgoing finance secretary, and Y Venugopal Reddy, former deputy governor of the RBI and at present India's executive director on the board of the International Monetary Fund.
Jalan's candidature as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha has come up as eminent scientist Raja Ramanna's six-year term as member of the Upper House is coming to an end in August.
There will be two more vacancies in the Rajya Sabha at around the same time. Film actress Shabana Azmi and veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar are also due to complete their term. Hema Malini and some senior editors are being mentioned as possible candidates to succeed the outgoing members.
Jalan has already set a record for being the longest serving governor of the RBI in recent times. He joined the RBI in November 1997.
Since then, Jalan has managed movements in the rupee's exchange rate and the interest rate regime without turbulence or undue shocks in the market.
Before becoming RBI governor, Jalan was a member of the Planning Commission. In his distinguished career as an economic administrator, Jalan has at various times been the chief economic advisor, banking secretary and finance secretary. He was also chairman of the economic advisory council to the prime minister.
Jalan's departure from the RBI before the end of his tenure may be considered significant as general elections are due in the last quarter of 2004, but the real significance will become known only when his full responsibilities are announced.