Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said that Urjit Patel's resignation as the RBI Governor "is very unfortunate and is a severe blow to the nation's economy" and hoped that the step isn't a sign of "government's attempt to destroy India's economy."
In a written statement released soon after Patel's resignation, Singh, who himself was RBI Governor from 1982 to 85, said, "I have known Dr Patel to be an economist of high repute and also someone who cared deeply about India's financial institutions and economic policy. Dr Patel's sudden resignation, at a time when the Indian economy is faced with many headwinds, is very unfortunate, and is a severe blow to the nation's economy."
"I wish Dr Urjit Patel success in his future endeavours. I also sincerely hope that this sudden resignation of the Governor is not a harbinger of the Modi government's attempts to destroy the institutional foundations of India's $3 trillion economy," Singh further stated in the letter.
He also used the opportunity to cite the apprehensions expressed by RBI Deputy Governor in regard to capital reserves of the Central bank, and said, "There have been apprehensions expressed earlier by the Deputy Governor of the RBI about the government's intent to raid the capital reserves of the RBI for fiscal purposes. I hope the resignation of the Governor is not a sign that this may soon become a reality."
Echoing the concerns of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in regard to an alleged attack on the institutions by BJP government, former Prime Minister Singh cautioned against using these institutions for short-term political gains.
"Building institutions take a long time and effort but they can be destroyed in a whimper. It is institutions such as the RBI, among many others that have served as the edifice of our great nation's progress since independence. It will be foolhardy to diminish these institutions for short-term political gains," said Singh.
Patel, who served as India's 24th RBI Governor and was appointed for a term of three years starting September 4, 2016, resigned abruptly on Monday, citing personal reasons.