Thursday, November 24th, 2016

RBI Governor Urjit Patel Missing? Arun Jaitley says no big deal

Narada Desk | November 24, 2016 11:47 am Print
In a nation where 98 percent of all consumer payments are made in cash, it could take until May to replace all the bills rendered worthless, according to estimates

Following the demonetisation, the country is now looking for Reserve Bank of India’s chief Urjit Patel as the heat from the public is on the rise following the chaos with the currency ban and unavailability of new currency notes.

It is to be noted that in the past 16 days following demonetisation, RBI governor Patel has only been seen once when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation to announce the currency ban. He had then assured the media of an adequate supply of fresh notes and normalcy by December-end. In stark contrast, Prime Minister has addressed the nation six times since the November 8 announcement.

The disappearance and silence has initiated a Missing person thread on twitter.

However, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended RBI governor’s absence and silence, saying “People in offices perform in terms of policies. They are not to be judged by the number of times they appear on the camera.”

Shaktikanta Das, Economic affairs secretary, also defended Patel on Wednesday saying that as long as information is being shared it is “irrelevant” who communicates it. However, Das is also on the RBI board and is in charge of overseeing the currency overhaul, and has been tweaking related rules almost every day since Modi announced the decision.

In a report Mint quoted KC Chakrabarty, former deputy RBI Governor as saying that he doesn’t know how much the RBI was “on board” with Modi’s move. “I was in charge of currency management and I saw that it doesn’t serve the purpose,” Chakrabarty told the paper. He, however, said that he would give Patel the benefit of doubt adding the RBI Governor is a sensible person and very new to the post.

In the beginning, the silence of new RBI governor was seen as foil for Prime Minister’s high-visibility administration, but when the public outrage is rising, it can be the cause of backfiring. Piyush Goyal, Power Minister told lawmakers on November 16 that it was Patel’s 10-member board that came up with the idea to ban the notes.

However, ex-RBI governor Raghuram Rajan had always been strong opponent of demonetisation, and has quoted as saying that he would prefer tax reforms over demonetisation. He had also been openly critical of the incumbent government.

In a nation where 98 percent of all consumer payments are made in cash, it could take until May to replace all the bills rendered worthless, according to some estimates.

Patel took the helm at the RBI when inflation is relatively steady and the rupee exchange rate was stable. But, on Thursday, the rupee reached lowest at 68.01/USD till noon.

All India Bank Employees Association on Wednesday demanded the resignation of Urjit Patel, citing his poor handling of the post demonetisation crisis.