Will protect RBI's autonomy: New Governor Shaktikanta Das

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Dec 12, 2018, 10:32 PM IST

File photo: RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

Story highlights

'I will try my best to work with everyone and work in the interest of Indian economy,' Das said. His predecessor Urjit Patel had resigned suddenly on Monday after months of strife with the government. 

New RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said Wednesday that he would protect the autonomy of the country's central bank. 

Das was appointed RBI  governor on Tuesday after former governor Urjit Patel's sudden resignation on Monday. Patel and the government had been tussling for months over the issue of the bank's independence. 

The main points of contention between them had been the bank's surplus cash reserves. The government was of the opinion that more of them should be handed over to the government. 

The government was also keen that the central bank free up credit — by loosening its curbs on the non-banking financial sector — for small and medium enterprises. 

"I will try and uphold professionalism, core values, credibility and autonomy of this institution. It’s an honour and great opportunity to serve RBI. I will try my best to work with everyone and work in the interest of Indian economy," Das said on Wednesday. 

"I have convened a meeting with CEOs and MDs of public sector banks tomorrow morning. Banking is an important segment in our economy and it’s facing several challenges that need to be dealt with. It's the banking sector on which I’d like to focus immediately," he added. 

Das was on Wednesday asked, he made his comments at a press conference, about the strife between his predecessor and the government. 

"I don't know if the relationship is good or not but we have to have stakeholders' consultation," Das answered.

"Government is not just a stakeholder but also runs the country, economy and manages major policy decisions. So there has to be discussion between government and RBI," he added. 

Das is a former top bureaucrat. He retired from the government as Secretary of the Economic Affairs Department. He has also been a secretary of the Revenue Department. 

Das was also the Modi government's point man during demonetisation, briefing the media on changes in rules — there had been several — after the government junked the old 500 and 1,000-rupee notes. 

One of his ideas had been to mark people's fingers with indelible ink — like is done during elections — after they had withdrawn cash from their bank accounts, so as to stop them from withdrawing more cash than the allowed limit. 

The move was withdrawn after widespread outrage.  

Das has MA in history from Delhi's St Stephen's College.