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LAST MONTH Viral Acharya, a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), suggested in a speech that the Indian government was risking “economic fire” by meddling with the bank. If he was right, on December 10th the last chance of dousing the flames may have been missed. Urjit Patel, the RBI’s governor, abruptly resigned, citing “personal reasons”. He has been replaced by Shaktikanta Das, a career civil servant who is thought to be an ally of Narendra Modi, the prime minister. The rupee dropped by 1.8% against the dollar on the news.
Mr Patel’s resignation came ahead of a board meeting on December 14th (after The Economist went to press). These gatherings used to be unremarkable, but in recent months board members friendly to the central government, in particular Swaminathan Gurumurthy, a Hindu-nationalist journalist appointed in August, have turned them into battles over RBI policy….