Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday likened the relationship between the government and the Reserve Bank of India to that of a husband and wife, and said the two should work in harmony, PTI reported. Singh, who was the central bank governor from 1982 to 1985, was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of his book Changing India in Delhi.
Singh’s remarks came days after Urjit Patel resigned as the central bank’s governor amid reports of a growing rift between the RBI and the government over the past few months. Former Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das replaced Patel as the head of the central bank.
Singh said one has to respect the autonomy of the central bank. “At the same time, I would say the relation between government and RBI is like husband-wife relationship,” said the Congress leader. “There will be hiccups, there will be difference of opinion, but ultimately these must be harmonised in a manner that these two great institutions can work in harmony.”
On the farm loan waivers announced by the new Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Singh said they were part of the party’s election manifestos in the two states and commitments have to be honoured, ANI reported.
Hitting back at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism for him being silent on critical issues as prime minister, Singh asserted that he was never afraid of talking to the press when he held the post. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had earlier this month alleged that Narendra Modi had not held a single press conference since becoming the prime minister.
“People say I was a silent prime minister,” Singh said. “I think these volumes [of his book] speak for themselves. I wasn’t the PM who was afraid of talking to the press.” He added that he met the press regularly and had a press conference soon after every foreign trip or on board his aircraft.
“I have been termed as an accident prime minister of the country, but I think that I was also an accidental finance minister,” Singh said, according to Hindustan Times.