Money & Banking

Nirmala Sitharaman rebuts Rahul charge of stealing RBI money

PTI Pune | Updated on August 27, 2019 Published on August 27, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with MoS Anurag Thakur addresses a press conference in Pune, on Tuesday. - PTI

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday strongly reacted to the Congress’ allegation of “stealing RBI’s reserves”, saying she does not care about such charges and the Opposition leader should have spoken to the finance ministers from his party before hurling such charges.

 Congress leader Rahul Gandhi earlier in the day hit out at the government over the record cash transfer from the RBI, saying the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are “clueless” about solving the “self-created economic disaster” and accused them of “stealing money” from the central bank.

Read: Surplus bonanza: RBI to transfer ₹1.76-lakh crore to government

“The Congress should have consulted its finance minister and seniors before making these allegations regarding the RBI. Yet, they have become consummate in making such allegations of stealing and I do not want to pay much heed to this,” she said told on the sidelines of GST meeting.

RBI credibility

The remarks come a day after RBI decided to transfer Rs 1.76 trillion of surpluses to a fund-starved government. Sitharaman also said questioning the credibility of the RBI, which had constituted the Bimal Jalan committee on determining the excess capital, is a “worrying” sign. The committee had eminent people on it and making any allegations like this is “outlandish”, Sitharaman said.

“Any suggestion on the credibility of RBI seems a bit outlandish considering the committee was appointed by the RBI itself,” she said, adding the government has not decided how to use the windfall from the RBI. According to some experts, government has accounted for Rs 90,000 crore surplus from RBI in the budget and the money can be used to prop up the sagging growth.

Jalan panel

At the time of the constitution of the Jalan panel, former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian had said the money should be used for specific purposes like bank recapitalisation.

The excess capital was one of the key issues which had led to the resignation of former governor Urjit Patel in December, and his deputy Viral Acharya in last month, had voiced concerns on the government raiding the balance sheet of the central bank.

Constitution of the committee was the first major decision taken by governor Shaktikanta Das on his appointment in December 2018 following Patel’s resignation.

Published on August 27, 2019
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