New Delhi: Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan's successor is likely to be announced as early as this week, for which top contenders include NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya and former deputy governors of the central bank Subir Gokarn and Rakesh Mohan.
Sources said a decision is expected soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's return from his four-national Africa trip on Tuesday.
Mr Rajan, whose current three-year tenure ends on September 4, made a surprise announcement last month that he would not seek a second term and would return to academia, triggering intense speculation about the possible contenders.
Among those being talked as possible contenders, Mr Panagariya is also India's key negotiator at G20 summit and has been Professor of Indian Political Economy at Columbia University.
He is a former Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank and Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has also worked with the World Bank, IMF and UNCTAD and is PhD in Economics from Princeton University.
Mr Pangariya, who is said to have been mentored by noted economist Jagdish Bhagwati, has been a vocal supporter of various economic policies of PM Modi.
Among other possible contenders to replace Mr Rajan, on-leave Professor of Finance at Chicago University and a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr Gokarn is currently serving as an Executive Director at the Fund, a post previously held by Mr Mohan as well.
Others said to be in the fray included State Bank of India chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and the RBI's current deputy governor Urjit Patel.
Traditionally, prime minister picks the RBI governor after consultation with the finance minister and the same process is likely to be followed this time.
Sources said once a new governor is named, he will become an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the central bank to allow smooth transition.
Mr Rajan, who will have the shortest tenure as governor of the central bank since liberilsation began in 1991, decided not to seek a second term amid unbridled political attacks against him including by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy.