3 yr tenure too short for RBI chief, Rajan tells Parl Panel

RSTV Bureau
File photo-PTI

File photo-PTI

Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has pitched for a longer tenure of the central bank head. Rajan, whose three-year term comes to an end in nine weeks, on Thursday opined before the Parliamentary panel that the global practice of longer tenures has to be emulated in India as well.

Briefing Parliamentary Standing Committee of Finance on various aspects of economy and NPA in banks, he was asked by members on what should be the tenure of the RBI Governor, sources said.

He told the members that a three-year term is “short”. On whether it should be five years, Rajan is believed to have cited the case of US Federal Reserve.

In the US Fed, in addition to serving as members of the Board, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman serve terms of four years and may be reappointed to those roles who in turn serve until their terms as Governors expire.

Rajan, who off-late has been subject to senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s diatribe, has already said no to a second term. His three-year tenure ends on September 4.

The Parliamentary commitee, headed by senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, took up the dicussions pertaining to the state of the current economy, reforms and restructuring of RBI, challenges in the banking sector in India and the way forward.

During the three hours briefing, the committee was also apprised by Rajan of the various steps taken to deal with the bad loan problem, said the sources.

The Reserve Bank has said the gross non-performing assets of the banks can rise to as high as 9.3 per cent in 2016-17 after hitting 7.6 per cent in March 2016. Rajan, the sources added, also briefed MPs about the credit scenario of the banks. He is believed to have told the MPs that private lenders are more active on the lending front, but PSU banks are found to be reluctant even when there is no shortage of funds.

The Governor also explained to MPs the impact of Brexit on India and the global economy.

Earlier in the day, he had called on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as the central bank and the government seek to quickly put in place a new interest rate-setting mechanism.

(With inputs from the PTI)