Open Minds 2017: Public Square

Urjit Patel, RBI Governor

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Quiet Banker

As successor to a vocal Raghuram Rajan as the Reserve Bank of India’s chief, Urjit Patel has come under criticism for being taciturn, even reclusive. It is as if silence is his default position. But his academic credentials and papers speak for his keen understanding of governance as well as the banking system. He was on the panel to review the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, and has authored stellar papers on inflation-targeting and monetary policy, one with Saugata Bhattacharya, and another with Amartya Lahiri, both of which are proof of his vision.

A farmer loan waiver undermines honest credit culture. It impacts credit discipline and it plugs incentives for future borrowers to repay

His work on India’s fiscal system, co-authored with Willem Buiter, is a testament to how well he knows what the government thinks. Perhaps that explains why he speaks in public only if he must. The last time we heard his voice was when the Uttar Pradesh government announced a massive farm-loan waiver.

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