Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel, in his first statements since the Centre’s demonetisation move was announced nearly three weeks ago, said that the bank is “taking all necessary actions to ease the genuine pain of the citizens who are honest and have been hurt”, PTI reported. Patel said the central bank is monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

He added that the RBI and government are making sure printing presses work at capacity to make the new notes available to meet the demand, the news reported. He also encouraged citizens to start using cash substitutes such as debit cards.

Patel’s silence on the move, which was announced on November 8, has had commentators questioning his stand, and asking whether the RBI’s autonomy has been compromised. Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das has been handling all the public announcements on demonetisation instead.

The Congress has even demanded that he step down. “Urjit Patel is either guilty of misleading the nation about RBI’s preparedness on demonetisation or has sacrificed the autonomy of the RBI. Either way he should resign,” party chairperson Jairam Ramesh had said on Saturday.

Power minister Piyush Goyal had told Parliamentarians on November 16 that a 10-member RBI panel headed by Patel had been responsible for the decision to make Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes illegal. However, Patel has neither confirmed nor denied this.