Talks on note ban began in Jan 2016, RBI Guv tells Parl panel

RSTV Bureau
File photo of RBI Governor, Urjit Patel speaks during a presss conference announcing the RBI monetary policy in Mumbai on Wednesday, 07 December, 2016.

File photo of RBI Governor Urjit Patel Photo – PTI

Briefing the Parliamentary panel on Wednesday, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel is learnt to have told the parliamentary panel on demonetisation that discussions between the central bank and the government on the process began early last year.

The questions put up by the panel ranged from the total amount of money that came back during the demonetisation period to the total amount of new bills of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 that were printed and sent to the banks.

Congress members of the committee asked questions like whose decision was it to withdraw high currency notes and also about autonomy of RBI, sources said. It is also learnt that Manmohan Singh, one of the members who had described demonetisation as monumental management failure, too raised questions on the issue.

BJP members of the panel, headed by Congress leader Veerappa Moily, however, chose not to raise much questions during the meeting, they added.

Urjit Patel is also scheduled to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on the same issue on January 20.

File Photo: People queue up outside RBI to exchange their old Rs 500 and 1000 notes in New Delhi  Photo-PTI

File Photo: People queue up outside RBI to exchange their old Rs 500 and 1000 notes in New Delhi

The sources also said that the Finance Ministry has sought time from the panel to provide answers to the queries raised during the meeting in which the Finance Secretary made a presentation before the committee.

On November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, following which the decision has been strongly criticised by the Opposition. The latter has alleged Modi government’s move of causing “inconvenience” to public. Ironically, the government ally Shiv Sena too has been criticising the decision.

The issue had also led to the stand-off between the government and a section of Opposition, led by Congress party, resulting in a near washout of Winter session of Parliament.

(With inputs from the PTI)