Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked the Narendra Modi-led government for the Reserve Bank of India’s announcement that it will transfer Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the Centre. Gandhi, in a tweet, claimed that this showed that Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were clueless about fixing the economy.
“PM and FM are clueless about how to solve their self created economic disaster,” Gandhi tweeted. “Stealing from RBI won’t work – it’s like stealing a Band-Aid from the dispensary and sticking it on a gunshot wound.”
Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the Centre had gone against what the RBI’s own think tank – Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning – had said.
“Urjit Patel and Viral Acharya held the fort,” Ramesh tweeted. “They were forced to leave. The fort was breached. The government of India now usurps a huge windfall from the RBI going contrary to what the central bank’s own think tank CAFRAL had said. Fiscal breathing space but at what and whose cost?”
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also criticised the government. “Is it a sheer coincidence that the Rs 1.76L Cr borrowed by RBI matches with the ‘Missing’ amount in the Budget calculations?” he asked in a tweet. “Is this fiscal prudence or fiscal hara-kiri? Will this Rs 1.76 L Cr be used to save BJP’s crony friends?”
“Modi 2.0 has converted the ‘R’ in RBI from ‘Reserve’ to ‘Ravaged’!” Surjewala claimed in another tweet. “Contingency Reserve of RBI meant for extreme financial emergencies & war-like situations is being used by BJP Govt [government] to bury its monumental mess on economic front! BJP has finished RBI’s credibility.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury claimed that the government had “appropriated” 99% of the profits of India’s central bank since 2014.
“Since 2014 Modi government has appropriated 99% of RBI’s profits every year to fund its propaganda campaigns,” he alleged in a tweet. “It has now siphoned off Rs 1.76 lakh crores ostensibly to recapitalise banks which have been looted by Modi’s cronies.”
“The health of our leading Navaratnas in the public sector is badly damaged by both, falling demand and because of the financial burden imposed on them by the govt. siphoning off huge dividends,” Yechury added. “All sections, farmers, workers, MSMEs, youth and women workers have been hurt badly.”
The RBI’s decision to transfer Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the government came after the central bank accepted the recommendation of a panel led by Bimal Jalan, a former governor of the bank.
In its meeting on Monday, the RBI’s central board decided to transfer Rs 1,23,414 crore of surplus for the year 2018-’19 and Rs 52,637 crore of excess provisions identified by a revised economic capital framework.
The economic capital framework had reportedly been a cause of disagreement between the government and the RBI last year. The framework governs the terms of transfer of the RBI’s surplus reserves to the government. Urjit Patel, who was then the RBI governor, had quit in December amid reports of a rift before the Jalan panel was formed.
Last week, Sitharaman had announced a slew of measures to boost the economy, less than two months after presenting the Union Budget.
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