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Centre keen to fill key posts in RBI, SBI and TRAI amid economic crisis.

Date: 31-08-2020
Subject: Centre keen to fill key posts in RBI, SBI and TRAI amid economic crisis
Key top positions in regulatory bodies such as the State Bank of India (SBI), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) are yet to be filled, even as the country battles an economic crisis and what experts warn could be a recession.

Among the vacant posts include replacement for RBI Deputy Governor NS Vishwanathan, who decided to step down by March 31 due to ill health, three months before the end of his extended one-year tenure.

The 62-year-old was notably in-charge of the key supervisory and regulatory functions at Mint Road and it was this powerful position that led the government to offer him an extension given the mess in the banking system.

At the time of his resignation, an RBI observer said his departure will pose a challenge for the central bank to navigate the key supervisory and regulatory functions in one of its most difficult times.

Search is also still on for the next chairperson of TRAI, as tenure of current Chairman RS Sharma is set to end on September 30.

The Centre had invited applications from eligible candidates, for a term not exceeding three years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier and outlined criteria as contained in the TRAI Act for a candidate with "special knowledge of and professional experience in telecom, industry, finance, accountancy, law, and management or consumer affairs."

TRAI has been at the forefront of major decisions related to tariffs and call connect charges, as well as recommendations on key issues like spectrum and reforming norms for transfer/merger of telecom licences.

Besides policy issues, the Supreme Court is expected to give its judgement on the AGR case on September 2, 2020. The order will have huge implications on the telecom sector.

Another post vacant is that of Managing Director of SBI after current head Rajnish Kumar steps down on October 7, 2020.

According to a notification from the Banks Board Bureau (BBB), the name of Dinesh Kumar Khara, who is one of the MDs of the bank, has been recommended as the next Chairman of SBI. Khara was supposed to retire in August 2021. If his name is finalised, Khara will get a three-year extension in the bank that is routine during the selection of new SBI chiefs.

Along with Khara, three other MDs of the bank, Arijit Basu, CS Shetty and Ashwani Bhatia were interviewed on August 28 for the chairman post.

Khara’s ascension to the chairman post would come at a time when the banking industry is facing an unprecedented challenge. The onset of COVID-19 has put the banking industry on the back foot; there is a likely build-up of huge asset quality pressure across verticals.

While the Centre and RBI announced have various, having these top positions filled would ensure that benefits of financial regulation and the bankruptcy framework is passed to borrowers, Mint reported. Policies in the telecom sector are being viewed as important from a point of view of economic recovery, it said.


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