Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday (August 27) strongly reacted to the Congress’s allegation of “stealing RBI’s reserves”, saying that she does not care about such
charges and the opposition leader should have spoken to the finance ministers from his party before hurling such charges.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi earlier in the day hit out at the government over the record cash transfer from the RBI, saying that the prime minister and the finance minister are “clueless” about solving the “self-created economic disaster” and accused them of “stealing money” from the central bank.
“The Congress should have consulted its finance minister and seniors before making these allegations regarding the RBI. Yet, they have become consummate in making such allegations of stealing and I do not want to pay much heed to this,” she said told on the sidelines of GST meeting.
The remarks come a day after RBI decided to transfer ₹1.76 trillion of surpluses to a fund-starved government.
Sitharaman also said that questioning the credibility of the RBI, which had constituted the Bimal Jalan committee on determining the excess capital, is a “worrying” sign. The committee had eminent people on it and making any allegations like this is “outlandish”, Sitharaman said.
“Any suggestion on the credibility of RBI seems a bit outlandish considering the committee was appointed by the RBI itself,” she said, adding the government has not decided how to use the windfall from the RBI.
According to some experts, the government has accounted for ₹90,000 crore surplus from RBI in the Budget and the money can be used to prop up the sagging growth.
At the time of the constitution of the Jalan panel, former chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian had said that the money should be used for specific purposes like bank recapitalisation.
The excess capital was one of the key issues which had led to the resignation of former governor Urjit Patel in December, and his deputy Viral Acharya in last month, had voiced concerns on the government raiding the balance sheet of the central bank.
Constitution of the committee was the first major decision taken by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on his appointment in December 2018 following Patel’s resignation.