Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of undermining the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stating the soul of the financial institution was "murdered" within minutes after the decision to demonetise notes was announced.
Addressing a rally in Uttarakhand's Rishikesh city, Rahul Gandhi said the Central bank was established to be independent from any political pressure, but the current dispensation had eroded this.
"The Congress Party made and strengthened the RBI and ensured that such an institution does not bows down under government's pressure...But in a minute the soul of this institution, which is roughly 60-70 years old, was murdered by Modi Ji," he said.
Rahul's reaction came in response after the employees of the RBI urged its Governor Urjit Patel to protect its autonomy by not allowing the Centre to not interfere in its functioning.
In a letter, United Forum of Reserve Bank Officers and Employees said autonomy and image of the RBI has been "dented beyond repair" due to mismanagement and termed appointment of a senior finance ministry official as a "blatant encroachment" of its exclusive turf of currency management.
"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 into smithereens in no time. We feel extremely pained," the letter read.
Following the furore the government clarified saying that it has in not infringed upon the autonomy of the RBI and that it "fully respects the independence and autonomy" of the central bank.
"There has been a report in sections of the press that some unions have alleged infringement of the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India. It is categorically stated that the Government fully respects the independence and autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India," the clarification read.
"Consultations between the Government and the RBI are undertaken on various matters of public importance wherever such consultation is mandated by law or has evolved as a practice, it added.
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