The Centre on Monday appointed economists Shashanka Bhide, Ashima Goyal and Jayanth Varma as external members of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India that decides interest rates, Business Standard reported. As per the RBI Act, the three new members would have four-year terms.
The appointment has come after the government faced criticism over failing to act on time to appoint an external panel to the Monetary Policy Committee. The rate-setting committee requires at least four members to be present at a meeting, according to the rules.
The delay prompted the Reserve Bank of India to defer its three-day interest-rate meeting last week, without giving a new date of its policy decision. The meeting was scheduled from September 29 to October 1.
The three MPC seats have been vacant since the terms of previous appointees – Chetan Ghate, Pami Dua, and Ravindra Dholakia – ended in September 22 as they were appointed in 2016 for a period of four years, according to Bloomberg. The RBI Act does not permit the re-appointment of members.
Ashima Goyal is a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic advisory council. Goyal is a professor at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research in Mumbai and was a visiting fellow at Yale University.
Shashanka Bhide is a senior advisor at the National Council for Applied Economic Research, whose work has involved research into agriculture, poverty analysis and macroeconomics.
Jayanth Varma, professor of finance and accounting at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, is an expert on the financial sector. He has served as part-time member of securities regulator SEBI for three years and a full-time member for one year.