Urjit Patel’s resignation: 7 flashpoints between RBI and Modi government

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Published: December 11, 2018 11:16:44 AM

Urjit Patel, 55, who took over as the 24th Governor of the central bank on September 5, 2016, had the shortest tenure since 1992.

RBI governor Urjit Patel and his deputy Viral Acharya (Express file photo)

After days of speculation, Urjit Patel finally stepped down the post of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor  on Monday. Urjit Patel, 55, who took over as the 24th Governor of the central bank on September 5, 2016, had the shortest tenure since 1992.  Interestingly, the next RBI board meeting was scheduled for December 14. In the past few months, both RBI and Modi government have been locking horns on issues ranging from interest rates to reserves.

It was after RBI deputy governor Viral Acharya’s fiery speech last month that sought to defend Central Bank’s autonomy, speculations over Urjit Patel’s resignation begin to rise.

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Here are 7 flashpoints between the RBI and Centre:

1)Reserves

This is the most recent issue on which the government and the RBI had a major run-in. While government accused Central Bank of sitting on ‘surplus reserves’, RBI argued against it. The latter said that the excess reserves are important to manage exchange rate risks.

2)Prompt Corrective Action (PCA)

Nearly half of PSU banks were placed by the RBI under prompt corrective action (PCA). The framework asks the government to recapitalise these banks before they begin lending all over again. However, in wake of liquidity crisis, government wanted RBI to do away with these restrictions.

3)NBFC liquidity

While the government asked the RBI for refinance window and also take other measures to infuse liquidity in NBFC sector, Central Bank argued against it saying there is no need for it to act as a lender of last resort for NBFCs.

4) Governance reform in RBI

While government said that there is a pressing need for independent directors to guarantee meetings are not held in closed doors, RBI argued against it.

5) Regulation of PSU banks

The government targeted RBI for its failure to detect PNB scam in time. Urjit Patel responded by blaming the government for not giving its enough powers for supervising banks.

6)February 12 circular on NPAs

While the government asked RBI to dilute NPA norms to help power firms, Central Bank said it’s duty-bound to resolve the problem in time-bound manner.

7)Dividends

RBI transferred only Rs 30,000 crore surplus against the budgeted Rs 66,000 crore to the government this fiscal, prompting the government to ask for a higher payout. However,  the central bank turned down the request.

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