RBI top post: Saumitra Chaudhuri frontrunner

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Planning Commission member Saumitra Chaudhuri has emerged as the frontrunner for the post of next Reserve Bank of India governor. The government plans to issue the orders once the appointment committee of the Cabinet formally approves Chaudhuri's name. The term of present Governor D Subbarao ends on September 5.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is learnt to be in favour of Chaudhuri as India's monetary policy regulator, to work in tandem with the government at a time when the economy is facing a downturn.

As a member of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, Chaudhuri has been a key part of the government's economic team.

While the government does not disclose any list of candidates, the field this time included Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan and Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram. While Mayaram, an IAS officer, has served in the Finance Ministry as joint secretary, Rajan was chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.

As per the RBI Act, a governor can be appointed for a maximum term of five years. In the past 20 years all occupants have completed five years each in the post. However, Bimal Jalan and Subbarao were appointed for three years initially and then got an extension for another two.

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