Jayanth Varma, Ashima Goyal, Shashanka Bhide: New members of RBI MPC

Topics Reserve Bank of India | RBI | MPC

The RBI named three new members of the MPC.
The government has appointed Jayanth Varma who is a professor in Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad,  Ashima Goyal, member of Economic Advisory Council of Prime Minister and Shashanka Bhide, senior advisor at National Council for Applied Economic Research as external members of the Reserve Bank of India's monetary policy committee. Here is what each of them brings to the table:  

Jayanth R Varma

Jayanth R Varma
Jayanth Varma is a known expert in financial markets. He is currently a professor at Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad and teaches courses in capital market, fixed income, alternative investment and corporate finance. He has been the dean of IIM for three years.

Prior to this, he was a full time member of the market regulator Securities Exchange Board of India for a year. This is after completing his three years stint at Sebi as a part-time member.

Prof. Varma, who is also a qualified cost accountant awarded a gold medal for scholastic performance from the IIM. He has been the chairman of the Secondary Markets Advisory Committee and several other committees of Sebi. He has also been chairman of several committees set up by the former commodity market regulator Forward Markets Commission, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Varma also contributed to financial sector reforms and of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission, chaired by former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan.

He has also been on the board of several companies including -- Axis Bank Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, Infosys BPM Ltd and Punjab National Bank. He has also worked for a year with a large financial services company as an executive director where he was in charge of investments and research for their mutual fund.

Before joining as a faculty at IIM, he worked for three years as senior consultant at a leading firm of management consultants and chartered accountants.

During his stint at IIM, he has carried out extensive research in the field of Indian financial markets and finance theory and published extensively in Indian and international journals.

He has authored extremely popular books on portfolio management and on the Indian securities scam. His book on the securities scam was a national best seller. Prof. Varma has more than a hundred papers and cases to his credit; in addition, he has published more than a hundred articles in newspapers and other periodicals.

He has carried out consulting assignments for several government, multilateral and private sector organisations in a wide range of areas including financing choices, risk management, management information and control systems, and corporate strategy.

Prof. Varma’s current research interests are principally in the area of financial markets including equity, debt, currency and derivative markets. He is also interested in broader issues related to the financial sector as also in mathematical modelling and computer simulation.

Ashima Goyal

Ashima Goyal
Ashima Goyal is an  old hand in monetary policy formulations. Her appointment as an external member in the monetary policy committee (MPC) came as no surprise to economists, and was well anticipated.

She is one of the handful of independent economists in India who have deep knowledge and original contribution in the field of macro-economy and monetary policy research.

She was a member of the technical advisory committee (TAC) that used to advise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor on policy matters. This was before MPC came into existence in 2016 and the advice was non-binding on the RBI governor. Dr. Goyal has also provided consultancy to World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other multilateral institutions.

She is a professor of economics at the prestigious Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), where she mainly teaches macro-economy. She is also a member of the powerful Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC).

She is often asked by the media about her view on monetary policy, and if opposed to the MPC outcome, her answer is flashed as the view of a PMEAC member running counter to RBI’s MPC.

This is because the PMEAC has direct contribution towards all economic policies introduced by the government and she must have been deeply involved in the fiscal policy measures needed to deal with the Covid-related stress the economy is facing now. PMEAC and its members were discussed on the Rs 20 trillion stimulus measures announced, and the one planned in the coming days. However, as an MPC member, she may have to leave the position.

Her fields of research and interest include open economy macroeconomics, international finance, financial markets and regulation, institutions and development.

Her current research is focused on fiscal and monetary policies, emerging market econometric models, flexible inflation targeting, trend cycle decomposition, growth volatility and sustainability, cross border flows, exchange rate regimes, global governance, institutions and incentives, says her short bio.

Goyal is also widely published in institutional and open economy macroeconomics, international finance and governance, with more than a hundred articles in national and international journals. She edits the Routledge journal Macroeconomics and Finance in Emerging Market Economics, and has edited other important books on economics.

Her research has received national and international awards. She won two best research awards at GDN meetings at Tokyo (2000) and Rio de Janeiro (2001), and was the first Professor P.R. Brahmananda Memorial Research Grant Awardee for a study on History of Monetary Policy in India since Independence in 2011.

Shashanka Bhide

Shashanka Bhide
Shashanka Bhide has a rich research experience in a number of areas such as agriculture, macroeconomic modelling, infrastructure and poverty analysis.

He is currently a senior advisor at National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), a non-profit think tank of economics. He also serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Institute for Social and Economic Change in Bangalore.

He had also published numerous articles and books, and book chapters in national and international publications on macroeconomic issues, agriculture and socio-economic issues.

Bhide, who is a doctor of philosophy in agriculture economics worked as staff economist at Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University at USA in the 80s. In 1998-1999, he was a visiting fellow, Australia South Asia Research Center, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra.

Bhide has done his Masters of Science from Indian Agricultural Research Institute in Delhi and first joined NCAER first in 1982 and held various positions since then.

In 2003, He joined professor and Head RBI unit at Institute for Social and Economic Change at Bengaluru. Between 2014 and 2018, he was director at Madras Institute of Development Studies in Chennai.

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