India central bank deputy governor Acharya resigns before end of term

RBI's youngest deputy governor post-1991 economic reforms Acharya joined the RBI

RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya's resignation on Monday did not surprise many.

Since Acharya was appointed by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the resignation would also be accepted by the panel.

Last year, the country witnessed a long-simmering discord between the central bank and the government when reports stated that the Centre had invoked never-before-used powers under Section 7 of the RBI Act allowing it to issue directions to the central bank governor on matters of public interest. Earlier in December 2018, governor Urjit Patel had resigned almost nine months before the end of his scheduled term. Patel then cited "personal reasons" for stepping down (about nine months ahead of the completion of his three-year term), amidst reports of friction between the RBI and the Government on a host of issues, including those relating to central bank autonomy, transferring RBI's excess reserves to the government and relaxing the Restrictive Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for 11 state-owned banks.

That rift had exploded when Viral Acharya, in a scathing speech just a couple of months before that, had warned of "risks of undermining the central bank's independence" as "potentially catastrophic". "Over the near term, that probably seals the deal on another rate cut in August, while further cuts beyond this are a growing possibility", Shilan Shah, senior India economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

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RBI's youngest deputy governor post-1991 economic reforms Acharya joined the RBI on January 23, 2017.

According to Nomura, at the margin, the composition of the MPC will likely become incrementally more dovish as Acharya stood on the more hawkish side of the policy spectrum.

"The RBI has its work cut out to convince markets and investors that it remains focused on stabilising inflation close to the 4% target", Capital Economics' Shah added.



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