RSS affiliate alleges conflict of interest after Gates foundation head nominated to RBI board
The Swadeshi Jagran Manch said stricter guidelines should be in place to ensure that government policies were not influenced by external groups.
The Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said that clearer and stricter guidelines should be in place to ensure that government policies were not influenced by external groups, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday.
SJM National Convenor Ashwani Mahajan said it was a conflict of interest that the India director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a member of the board of directors of the Reserve Bank of India. The Union cabinet appointed Nachiket Mor to the RBI board in August 2017.
“The Gates Foundation is regulated by the RBI and it is an absolute conflict of interest to have Mor on its board of directors,” Mahajan told the Hindustan Times. “The government should have not allowed this.”
Mor, however, defended himself and said “all appointments to the RBI board are made by the central government in accordance with the relevant provisions of the RBI Act”.
Earlier, the SJM had prepared a draft white paper on the Gates foundation that questioned its influence on health policies. It had written to the Centre, alleging conflict of interest in the health ministry for signing a memorandum of understanding with the charity to help achieve universal immunisation.
The outfit wants the Centre to draft a policy that bars bureaucrats from advocacy groups and keeps certain organisations out of government-controlled panels.
Mahajan also alleged conflict of interest in the NITI Aayog board. “There is a working group on nutrition formed by the NITI Aayog, which has on board multi-national companies that manufacture packaged food and beverages, which again is a conflict of interest,” he said.
But a NITI Aayog official said their job was “to hear all voices” and claimed that said no important role has been assigned to members of any of these multi-national companies.