Urjit Patel (born 28 October 1963) is an Indian economist, who served as the 24th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) from 4 September 2016 to 10 December 2018. Previously, as an RBI deputy governor, he looked after monetary policy, economic policy research, statistics and information management, deposit insurance, communication and Right to Information. Appointed by the NDA government, Patel succeeded Raghuram Rajan as RBI governor on 4 September 2016. He resigned from his post on 10 December 2018 citing personal reasons. He is the first governor after 1990s to resign from his post before his terms ends on September 2019.
Urjit Patel was born in Nairobi on 28 October 1963 to Manjula and Ravindra Patel. His grandfather had migrated from Mahudha village in Kheda district, Gujarat to Kenya in the 20th century. His parents run Raxo Products Ltd, a chemical factory in Nairobi.
He studied at the Gujarati community run Visa Oswal Primary School and later at Jamhuri High School in Nairobi. He earned Bachelor of Science in Economics from London School of Economics, Master of Philosophy in Economics from Linacre College, Oxford in 1986. He later earned a doctorate degree in Economics from Yale University in 1990. He was at IMF India Desk during the 1991–94 transition period.
After obtaining his Ph.D., Patel joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1990 worked on the USA, India, Bahamas and Myanmar desks at IMF till 1995. Thereafter he went on deputation from the IMF to the Reserve Bank of India, where he perform an advisory role in the development of the debt market, banking sector reforms, pension fund reforms, targeting of real exchange rate. After the two-year deputation with RBI, Patel became a Consultant to the Government of India in the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs – a position he held from 1998 to 2001. He served on the board of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation in 2006-07.
Between 1997 and 2018, Patel worked with several High-Level Committees at both Central and State Government level.
- Competition Commission of India.
- Task Force on Direct Taxes.
- Prime Minister’s Task Force on Infrastructure.
- Group of Ministers on Telecom Matters.
- Advisory Committee on Research Projects and Market Studies.
- Committee on Civil Aviation Reforms.
- Expert Group on State Electricity Boards.
- High-Level Expert Group on Civil and Defence Services Pension System.
- Advisor, Boston Consulting Group.
- President (Business Development), Reliance Industries.
- Executive Director, Infrastructure Development Finance Company.
- Member, Integrated Energy Policy Committee, Government of India.
- Non-Executive Director, Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation.
- Non-Executive Director, Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited.
- Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India.
- Governor, Reserve Bank of India.
Former to his appointment as the Deputy Governor at RBI in 2013, Patel was an advisor Energy and Infrastructure with Boston Consulting Group, while he has also worked with Reliance Industries in the past.
He took over charge of the vital Monetary Policy Department, succeeding Subir Gokarn to the post. As the Deputy Governor of RBI from 2013, he looked after monetary policy, economic policy research, statistics and information management, deposit insurance, communication and Right to Information.
On 20 August 2016, he was appointed as the governor of Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) succeeding Raghuram Rajan. During his tenure, the Government of India demonetized the ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi Series, with the stated intention of curbing corruption, black money, fake currency and terrorism from 9 November 2016.
On 10 December 2018 at 17:15 hrs IST, Urjit Patel resigned from the post of Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) effective immediately.
Although Patel cited personal reasons for resigning from RBI, experts have Understand that he was forced to exit because of serious differences with the Government of India. The latter wanted more money from RBI to fund its fiscal deficit, which Patel did not agree to, citing requirement for long term financial stability.In August 2019 Nitin Gadkari fueled the controversy when he stated that he had advised the Union Finance Minister to “throw out” the RBI Governor because the latter was inflexible and adamant. Raghuram Rajan, the ex-RBI Governor has also stated that Urjit Patel’s resignation was a note of protest.