New Delhi, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that the government neither eyed the Reserve Bank of India reserves for the 2019 election purposes nor pushed former RBI Governor Urjit Patel to put in his papers, refuting media reports in this regard.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2018, Mr Jaitley said that the government was never eyeing money held by the Reserve Bank of India in its reserves so that it could announce a mega poll sop ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
He said they did not want a “single rupee” from the RBI’s surplus to fulfill his fiscal deficit goals or for any other expenses.”I do not want a single rupee for my fiscal, or for this year’s expenses or for till the month of May…,” Mr Jaitley said, adding that his government has maintained the fiscal deficit and did not need any money to maintain it.
He said the board meetings were held to take up issues such as level of reserve to be maintained by the central bank.
Mr Jaitley added that there should be a debate on the Economic Capital Framework. He said that the framework would define how much money the RBI can have in its reserves and at what point it must hand over money to the government.
“The RBI has 28 per cent extra reserves with it and should tell the government how it would utilize it. The reserves can be used to recapitalize the banks or for the welfare of the poor. But it should inform the Government,”Mr jaitley said.
Mr Jaitley said that several experts, including former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian, have said there must be a debate on the subject.He said they have never pressurised or asked Dr Patel to resign.
On the economic front, the Minister said,’ everything is fine with the Indian economy. All projects started during the UPA regime were in sustainable position.’
Dr Urjit Patel had resigned on December 10 as RBI Governor after a month-long rift between him and the Government over the central bank’s autonomy and reserves issues.Later, Mr Shaktikanta Das was appointed as the RBI governor.