Government set to turn up heat on RBI governor

07 November, 2018, 15:41 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel arrives for a news conference at the bank's head office in Mumbai

His statement assumes significance amid recent signs of a rift between the government and the bank.

According to the sources, the government would continue to press the RBI to relax norms to boost lending and transfer at least a third of its Rs 9.6 lakh crore reserve.

Mr Gandhi urged RBI Governor Urjit Patel to "stand up" to the prime minister and "protect the nation".

The RBI, however, is opposed to this view and believes that the government's request for transfer surplus can adversely impact macroeconomic stability, The Indian Express reported.

Still, the government sources say they will find ways to increase pressure on the RBI and Patel via the board before moving to invoke Section 7. The central bank, however, feels that it needs to retain a share of profits to make its balance sheet stronger, as per media reports.

The existing economic capital framework which governs the central bank's capital requirements, as well as the terms for the transfer of its reserves to the government, is a very "conservative" assessment of risk by the RBI, argued the government.

It has also mandated banks to declare a delinquent borrower even if payments were overdue by a day.

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Tensions between the two sides came to the fore last month when RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya gave a speech that blew the lid off a fractious dispute between the bank and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on issues ranging from lending curbs to who controls the institution's reserves.

Apart from Patel and his four deputies, there are 13 nominated directors on the RBI's board.

However, an RBI source told Moneycontrol this may not be the case."November 19 is too close [for him to resign] as the tussle between RBI and government is out in the open, it is highly unlikely that he would move out", the source said.

On November 6, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, in an interview with CNBC TV18, while defending the call for RBI's greater autonomy said that the nation is ultimately going to benefit from a robust and independent RBI.

Last week, Economic Affairs Seceretary Subhash Chandra Garg and government nominee on the Board took an apparent dig at Acharya's "wrath of financial markets" comment in a tweet saying vital indicators of the economy were showing improvement.

Two of the contentious issues behind the ongoing spat between the government and the central bank which of late has reached historic lows, has been North Block's call for addressing the liquidity crunch.

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