Two parliamentary committees, chaired by Congress members, have decided to call RBI Governor Urjit Patel to examine the “monetary policy” of the Centre and assess the “impact of demonetisation” at a time when the House is unable to function owing to a standoff between the government and the Opposition.
On Wednesday, the Standing Committee on Finance, headed by senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, decided to call the RBI Governor to discuss the impact of the demonetisation decision. And on Thursday, the Public Accounts Committee, headed by K V Thomas, also decided to call Patel, Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das and Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal in the first week of January to discuss the issue.
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Thomas told The Indian Express: “Some members approached me, saying that the issue of demonetisation should be taken up by the PAC since it is impacting a huge population. Today, when the committee met, members took an unanimous decision to discuss the issue. The PAC has decided to call the RBI Governor, DEA Secretary and Secretary, Financial Services. This is being done to assess the impact of demonetisation and the overall monetary policy.”
This is likely to generate heat since it will involve discussions. The Congress and other Opposition parties have been attacking the government for pushing demonetisation without adequate preparation. They have been citing “hardship to people” because of the “ill-conceived decision”.
Sources said it was Shantaram Naik of Congress who first made the demand at the PAC meeting Thursday that the panel should take up the issue to understand the “impact of demonetisation”.
Sources said Bhartruhari Mahtab of BJD, however, said that the panel should discuss the entire gamut of the monetary policy of the government and not limit itself to demonetisation, an idea with which BJP members agreed.
The PAC chairman has asked members to give their questions to the panel’s secretariat so that these can be sent to the officers concerned for a written response.
Sources said the Finance Committee decided Wednesday to discuss the demonetisation issue and call the RBI Governor. While Congress member Digvijaya Singh wanted the panel to take up the issue in the second week of January, several members said it could be taken up in the third week of December, sources said.