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SBI Chief Arundhati Frontrunner To Replace Rajan as RBI Governor

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and State Bank of India (SBI) chairwoman Arundhati Bhattacharya leave after attending an industry event in Mumbai/File Photo (Reuters)

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and State Bank of India (SBI) chairwoman Arundhati Bhattacharya leave after attending an industry event in Mumbai/File Photo (Reuters)

I will, of course, always be available to serve my country when needed: Rajan

New Delhi: With Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan unwilling to head the central bank for the second term, senior government officials say that State Bank of India (SBI) Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya is the frontrunner among the six contenders for the post.

The long list to replace Rajan includes RBI Deputy Governor Urjit Patel, former deputy governor Subir Gokarn, economists Rakesh Mohan and Parthasarathi Shome.

Chief Economist in the World Bank Kaushik Basu's name is also doing the rounds.

On Saturday, Rajan said he will not serve a second term as RBI head, sparking a war of words in which the Congress accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central Government of hounding him out.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has been running a campaign seeking Rajan's ouster.

Rajan told his colleagues at the RBI that he will return to academics after his three-year term ends on September 4.

"I will, of course, always be available to serve my country when needed. I am an academic and I have always made it clear that my ultimate home is in the realm of ideas," he said.

Hours later, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted that the government appreciated Rajan's "good work" and respected his decision.

"A decision on his successor would be announced shortly," he had said.

Top industry leaders defined Rajan's decision not to take a second term as "nation's loss" as he brought economic stability and enhanced India's credibility on the world stage.
first published:June 19, 2016, 07:39 IST