Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday denied speculation that the government had sought the resignation of Urjit Patel as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, PTI reported. He was speaking on the second day of the Agenda Aaj Tak event in New Delhi.
Patel had resigned from the central bank on December 10, citing personal reasons. The government appointed former bureaucrat Shaktikanta Das as his successor the next day.
Jaitley responded to criticism over Patel’s resignation by saying there were “cordial discussions” in the central board of RBI over matters such as the appropriate size of reserves the central bank must hold. “The government never asked for his resignation,” he said.
Jaitley also rubbished speculation that the government was eyeing money held by the Reserve Bank of India in its reserves so that it can announce some big scheme ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “I do not want a single rupee [from the RBI’s surplus] for my fiscal [deficit goals], or for this year’s expenses or for till the month of May,” Jaitley said.
Patel was the first RBI governor since 1990 to step down from the post before his term ends. Patel’s tenure was slated to end in September 2019.