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Govt wants Rs 1 trn from RBI to hike spending before 2019 poll: Chidambaram

Press Trust of India/Kolkata 08 Nov 18 | 04:00 PM

Congress leader P Chidambaram. File photo

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi government of trying to "capture" the Reserve Bank of India to tide over its fiscal crisis, warning that any such move would be "catastrophic". 

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He alleged that the government has packed the central bank's board with handpicked nominees, and was making every attempt to push through its proposals at the RBI board meeting on November 19.

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"The government stares at a fiscal deficit crisis... The government wants to step up the expenditure in an election year. Finding all avenues closed, in desperation, the government has demanded Rs 1 trillion from the reserves of RBI," the former finance minister said at a press conference. 

If RBI Governor Urjit Patel stands his ground, the Centre was planning to issue a direction under Section 7 of the RBI Act, 1934, directing the apex bank to transfer Rs 1 trillion to the government's account, he claimed. 

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"The day of reckoning is November 19 when the RBI board is scheduled to meet. The government has packed the RBI board with its handpicked nominees and is making every attempt to ram through its proposal at the meeting," Chidambaram said.

"If the RBI either defies the government or RBI governor resigns, in either events, the consequence will be catastrophic," he added.  

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