RBI governor may consider resigning after rift with govt

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Efforts are on to contain the fight before it turns macabre as speculations are rife that RBI governor Urjit Patel, an NDA pick, may resign.

Jaitley had on Tuesday blamed the RBI for failing to stop a lending spree between 2008-2014 that left banks with huge bad debts, inflaming a row that recently erupted between the government and the central bank. Sources said after the consultation, RBI has to take directions from the government in "Public interest". It had weakened as much as 74.15 after news reports suggested that the government had invoked Section 7 of the RBI Act to direct governor Urjit Patel on issues related to liquidity for non-banking finance companies, capital for weak banks, and lending to small and medium enterprises.

Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy showed his support for Patel and tweeted: "If RBI governor resigns then it is a direct outcome of FM blaming him publicly yesterday for NPAs".

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"The RBI is not allowed to throw tantrums". According to reports, the Modi government had invoked Section 7 first time soon after Allahabad court's verdict in RBI versus Power companies. "There have been talks with the RBI on these issues, but invoking Section 7 (1) is something that has not come up yet but we need to also ensure that industries are not killed", he added. "It shows that the government is hiding facts about the economy and is desperate", he said in a tweet.

The finance ministry said that both the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have to be guided by public interest and the requirements of the Indian economy, for which extensive consultations take place between them. He had warned that undermining RBI's independence could be "potentially catastrophic", indicating the central bank is being pushed to relax its policies and reduce its powers ahead of a general election due by May.

The Finance Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement that said the central bank's autonomy is "an essential and accepted governance requirement".

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"The government of India has never made public the subject matter of those consultations". This is equally true of all regulators.

However, another report suggested that the government has initiated a consultative process with the RBI in three areas of concern and while doing so, has mentioned Section 7 without actually invoking it. The following development surfaced a few days after the RBI deputy governor Viral Acharya, during a public address, said that the interference by the Centre in the working of the RBI could result in disastrous consequences. "The Government will continue to do so".

The government issued the statement to address the perception of growing differences between the finance ministry and the country's central bank. "We appeal to all right-minded people and experts to speak out and persuade the government to amend, and let RBI do its jobs in an unfettered was as per statutes, mandates, practices".

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