The central board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the proposal to hire specialists from outside — the first such move in the bank’s 75-year history. The first batch is likely to join the department of information and technology.

Initially, RBI will take only a handful of such specialists — five to six in a year — as it wants to test the system. The initial batch will have a tenure of two-five years. These professionals will join at the mid-management level — as general managers and chief general managers.

The batch is likely to join the department of information and technology (DIT), as requests from this department have already been received. Officials said RBI’s software system had not been upgraded at the same speed as other government and regulatory agencies. “A lot of people in RBI are still apprehensive of taking a decision or passing on order using the electronic format,” said an official. These IT specialists are expected to help the central bank upgrade its systems to international standards.

RBI will also look for professionals in the field of inspection, audit and risk management, which are part of the department of banking supervision; derivatives, which is under the foreign exchange department; and reserve management, which is under the department of external investments and operations. In due course, other departments are expected to be added to the list.

The system will be a departure from the current human resource practices, as only the governor and two of the four deputy governors are inducted laterally at present. Other officers, including two deputy governors, rise through the ranks. The move comes as a lesson of the global financial crisis. Some officials believe RBI regulates various entities involved in complex functions. As a result, somebody from the external world who understands things like derivatives will help RBI understand these products better.

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