RBI governor bats for autonomy, does not target government

Reserve Bank of India governor Urjit Patel on Tuesday strongly stressed on the need to protect the autonomy of the central bank before a parliamentary panel, but stayed away from any direct criticism of the government. Patel, who appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance headed by senior Congress MP Veerappa Moily, also parried questions on the government’s move to initiate Section 7 proceedings but said he would submit written responses on some of the contentious issues raised by members. The governor appeared absolutely clearheaded in defending RBI’s autonomy even though he chose to be extremely dignified in his responses and avoided any direct criticism of the government or the finance ministry in this context, a member of the panel told. Patel projected a robust outlook for the national economy and opined that the fall in international crude oil prices will give the Indian economy the much-need boost. The committee will decide if it needs to call the RBI governor again after examining his written response which he is expected to submit over the next couple of weeks.

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