Mumbai - As an unprecedented fight plays out between the RBI and the government, it is the central bank’s 18 board members who are being keenly watched for their next course of action — they are not only central bankers and government officials but also business leaders, economists and activists.
As per the RBI website, its central board currently has 18 members, though the provision is that it can go up to 21.
The members include governor Urjit Patel and his four deputies as ‘full-time official directors’, while the rest 13 have been nominated by the government, including two finance ministry officials — economic affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg and financial services secretary Rajiv Kumar.
There are also Swadeshi ideologue Swaminathan Gurumurthy and cooperative banker Satish Marathe, nominated by the government as “part-time non-official directors”.
The government can nominate 10 ‘non-official’ directors from various fields and two government officials. The four non-official directors are one each from the four regional boards of the RBI.
Besides Patel, the four official directors are N.S. Vishwanathan and Viral Acharya, both of whom have gone public with their direct or indirect criticism of any attempt to undermine the RBI’s autonomy, as also B.P. Kanungo and M.K. Jain.
The business leaders on the RBI board include Tata group chief Natarajan Chandrasekaran, former Mahindra group veteran Bharat Narotam Doshi, Teamlease Services co-founder Manish Sabharwal and Sun Pharma chief Dilip Shanghvi.
The other members are Sudhir Mankad (retired IAS officer whose last assignment was as Gujarat government's chief secretary), Ashok Gulati (agricultural economist), Prasanna Mohanty (ex-IAS officer and economist), Sachin Chaturvedi of Delhi-based think-tank Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and Revathy Iyer (a former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General).