Millennium Post

Will try to uphold RBI's autonomy, credibility: Shaktikanta Das

Will try to uphold RBIs autonomy, credibility: Shaktikanta Das

New Delhi: Former Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday assumed charge as RBI Governor after Urjit Patel abruptly resigned from the post amidst a tiff with the government on the central bank's autonomy.

"Assumed charge as Governor, Reserve Bank of India. Thank you each and everyone for your good wishes," the new incumbent said in a Tweet.

Das, who as Economic Affairs Secretary steered the monetary situation post-demonetisation, was appointed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor on Tuesday.

His appointment came at a time when the government and the RBI are engaged in a tussle over several issues including transfer of the central bank's reserves, over which Patel had reservations after the government hinted at forcing him using provisions of the RBI Act.

Das, a retired 1980-batch IAS officer from the Tamil Nadu cadre, was a member of the 15th Finance Commission of India and India's Sherpa to G20. Having a master's degree from St. Stephen's College, he earlier served as Joint Secretary in the Expenditure Department of the Finance Ministry.

In a development that came as an embarrassment for the government, Patel resigned on Monday citing "personal reasons" even as his various predecessors hinted that the decision was rooted in the recent controversy involving the government and the central bank.

His resignation came against the backdrop of the tiff between the government and the central bank over the liquidity and credit crunch in the economy that provoked an extraordinary meeting of the RBI board on November 19.

RBI Governor in charge on Wednesday said he will try to uphold the autonomy, credibility and the integrity of the "great institution" and take every stakeholder, including the government, along in a consultative manner.

The former bureaucrat, who took over the reins of the Reserve Bank earlier in the day following the resignation of Urjit Patel, said he will take measures which the economy requires in a timely manner and as the first step, will meet the heads of public sector banks.

Addressing media hours after taking over as the 25th Governor of RBI, the former Union finance secretary who was the pointsman for the government during the demonetisation in November 2016, describing the bank as a "great institution".

"I will uphold the autonomy, integrity and credibility of RBI as an institution. I will ensure that it is intact," he said. "The RBI is a great institution, has a long and rich legacy," he added.

The government is the key stakeholder and the owner which run the nation, he said.

Das parried queries on differences with the government that led to his predecessor's resignation Monday.

"I wouldn't go into the issues between RBI and government but every institution has to maintain its autonomy and also adhere to accountability," Das said.

"I don't know whether the government-RBI relationship is blocked, but I feel stakeholder consultations have to go on," he said.

On the Parliamentary mandate on RBI as an inflation targeting central bank, he said it's heartening to know that inflation is on target with a benign outlook.

"Inflation targeting is an important function as it is a mandated requirement of RBI now," Das said.

The RBI central board meeting will take place on December 14 as scheduled, he said.

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