Hitting hard at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that the central bank surrendered to the Modi government and compromised its autonomy and independence. In an exclusive interview with BTVi, he termed the demonetisation move as pre-scripted and said that RBI’s stance on not revealing the minutes is laughable. His tirade didn’t end here. He further said that the government seems to be telling RBI, “I will walk and you will follow”. “RBI is either speechless or stunned into silence. The credibility of the central bank further took a hit when PM Modi announced measures on December 31,” he said.
He further told the news channel that former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan was totally opposed to demonetisation. “In 25 years, no RBI governor thought that note ban was the right way to boost economy. Urjit Patel was only 65 days in office as the governor when this note ban decision was taken. Neither the PM nor the RBI governor has been able to justify demonetisation”.
This is not the first time that Chidambaram is speaking against demonetisation. Earlier, he said that had he been the Finance Minister, he would have resigned from the post if the Prime Minister insisted on demonetisation. “Had the Prime Minister told me ‘I have decided to declare as illegal tenders Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes’, my advice to him would have been not to do it. Don’t take the decision. “I would have given him facts and figures. But, had he still said ‘Sorry, this is my decision and I will do it’, let me tell you quite candidly, I would have resigned,” said the former Union finance minister.
Attacking the government over demonetisation, Chidambaram claimed that the move will not meet the objectives of curbing corruption, counterfeit currencies and black marketeering as spelt out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, he added that the “only short-term benefits” of it would result in people shifting towards digital transactions in the urban areas.