New Delhi: Former finance secretary Shaktikanta Das, a vocal supporter of demonetisation and defender of the Narendra Modi government in the face of adversity on several occasions, has been appointed the new governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Das's tenure would be of three years, as is the normal practice.

The Union government filled the void promptly after Urjit Patel resigned on Monday. It was widely expected that the government will name an interim RBI head during its search for Patel's replacement. But the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose Das within a day.

Finance secretary AN Jha has said that Das has wide experience in state government as well as the Union government.

The 61-year-old Das is currently the member of 15th Finance Commission. He is a sherpa or representative of India at the G20 international grouping.

On Monday, Patel had stepped down from his position of RBI governor citing personal reasons. Detractors saw the development as a result of his irredeemable differences with the government over issues like lending rates, loans to MSMEs, public sector banks' reserve ratio, etc. This, the critics say, led Patel to quit the job 10 months ahead of the normal culmination of his term.

Shaktikanta Das, who?

Das is

1. former IAS officer from Odisha of 1980 batch Tamil Nadu cadre; held several key positions under Tamil Nadu government as well
2. former economic affairs secretary (August 2015-May 2017) when demonetisation was announced
3. vehement critic of rating agencies like Moody’s, Fitch and Standards & Poors' who were reluctant to upgrade India’s sovereign rating
4. worked extensively in finalising budgets for both the current government of the NDA and its predecessor, the UPA government

A history graduate from the prestigious St Stephen's College in Delhi, Das was brought to the Finance Ministry soon after the BJP-led NDA government came to power in mid-2014 and given charge of the crucial revenue department. He was later moved to the economic affairs department, which essentially deals with monetary policy and the RBI.

While the BJP government chose an economist in Patel to head the RBI after it had denied an extension to former IMF Chief Economist Raghuram Rajan for a second term in 2016, the position has once again gone to a bureaucrat. Bureaucrats have occupied the position for the most number of years. The last IAS officer to head the RBI was D Subbarao, who demitted office in September 2013.