After seeking two exemptions from attending meetings of a Parliamentary panel examining the issue of demonetisation, RBI Governor Urjit Patel will finally appear before it on July 12 to respond to clarifications from members on a wide range of issues related to the decision.
Members plan to ask the RBI chief questions regarding the top bank’s preparedness for digital transition and how much money has come back into the system after the November 8 decision to place the existing currency notes of Rs 1000.
Members want Patel to explain in detail what was the real purpose of the demonetisation, how the process was carried out, and what role the RBI played into the entire exercise.
Besides Patel, top finance ministry officials will also depose before the panel on July 13. “Patel will appear before the panel this time,” a source in the panel said.
The Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Congress MP Verappa Moily, has already questioned Patel on January 18 on the demonetisation decision.
As members could not ask all questions and most of the queries remained unanswered, they decided to call the RBI Governor as well as top finance ministry officials again to discuss the impact of demonetisation.
On April 20 when the panel met, it decided to call Patel to appear before it on May 25 with the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressing that the RBI Governor should tell the panel how much money came back to banks after the November decision and whether the top bank is prepared to carry out the government’s push for digital economy in the aftermath.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, had then questioned the rationale of the panel in calling Patel, again but Singh put his foot down saying Patel must come.
However, Patel could not attend the May 25 meeting, and sought exemption for few days citing engagements. He had then written to panel Chairman Moily to allow him exemption from the panel meeting on May 25 due to his engagement in a RBI meeting on June 6 and June 7 on Monetary Policy Statement for 2017-18.
The Committee then planned to call him on June 8. However, the date was again advanced as BJP members— Ajay Sancheti, Nishikant Dubey and Shivkumar Udasi cited their unavailability for the month with Dubey saying he would be abroad for treatment.