January 14, 2017 1:56:03 am
Employees of the Reserve Bank have taken strong exception to the recent measures involving the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, stating that the government “is impinging on the RBI’s autonomy and its statutory as well as operational jurisdiction”.
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In a letter to RBI Governor Urjit Patel, the United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees, said, “We request the Governor of the RBI, its highest functionary and protector of its autonomy and prestige, to do the needful urgently to do away with this unwarranted interference from the finance ministry and assure the staff accordingly as the staff feels humiliated.”
The Forum’s letter follows reports that the finance ministry had sent a joint secretary to co-ordinate RBI’s cash operations. “If true this is most unfortunate and we take strong exception to this measure,” the Forum said. The Forum represents three RBI unions coordinating the officers and other employees.
“It’s painful to note that the RBI is being criticised by many quarters, for its “operational mismanagement” by the press and many important personalities. Its autonomy and image have been dented beyond repair. Such critics include even former RBI Governors,” the Forum said in the letter.
The letter said, “an image of efficiency and independence that the RBI assiduously built up over decades by the strenuous efforts of its staff and judicious policy making has gone to smithereens in not time. We feel extremely pained, we reiterate.”
“Having put the RBI in a quandary, the finance ministry has now placed their officials, as reported, on the RBI set-up to “co-ordinate” allegedly,” it said. “Apart from showing the RBI operations and its gigantic performance in poor light, the government now blatantly encroaches on its jurisdiction, which, we state strongly, we cannot accept.”
The letter says: “We want to state very categorically that the RBI is fully capable to co-ordinate the central bank’s currency chest operations which the RBI has been performing over decades, and we do not need “any assistance” from anywhere.” “We may assume that the RBI did not ask for deployment of a joint secretary of the finance ministry in its functions, rather it’s the finance ministry which has imposed itself on the RBI, which is absolutely unacceptable and deplorable,” it said.
According to the Forum, since November 8, 2016, replacement and exchange of these notes all over the country has been a humungous task, perhaps no other country has ever ventured.
However, the RBI staff has been doing the job excellently right from exchange of notes from thousands of people over the additional exchange counters in all its offices, carrying treasures all over the country to feed the currency chests by means of round-the-clock remittances in all nook and corners of the country with a number of inaccessible places in distant land, the letter said.
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