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finance | IST

RBI governor Shaktikanta Das vows to uphold central bank's autonomy and values

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In his first remarks after taking charge as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday promised to uphold central bank's autonomy, credibility, and values of the "great institution" and take every stakeholder, including the government, along in a consultative manner.

In his first remarks after taking charge as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday promised to uphold central bank's autonomy, credibility, and values of the "great institution" and take every
stakeholder, including the government, along in a consultative manner.
Addressing media hours after taking over as the 25th Governor of RBI, the former Union finance secretary, said, "I will work as a team with other officials in RBI in the best interest of the economy and try and take measures in a timely manner on issues, on aspects which the economy requires or which are in the best interest of the Indian economy."
The governor said every institution needs to have autonomy and professional integrity, "RBI is a great institution, it has got a very long legacy, a very rich legacy."
Das was named the new governor of RBI after Urjit Patel abruptly resigned amid a face-off with the government over issues related to governance and autonomy of the central bank.
The former bureaucrat, said, "Banking is an important segment of our economy and it's currently facing several challenges, which are of critical importance and they need to be dealt with. I am not implying that nothing has been done, a lot has been done both by the government and by the RBI, several measures have been taken but many more measures also perhaps need to be taken," the governor said in Mumbai.
"So, tomorrow morning (December 13), I propose to undertake an consultation with managing directors and chief executive officers of the public sector banks, who are based in Mumbai and then may be after another few days I will hold a consultation with the chiefs of public sector banks, which are located outside Mumbai. Subsequently at some stage, I will have an interaction with the private sector banks also to understand the issues relating to them," he added.
He was widely perceived to be a contender for the top job at the RBI after the exit of former governor Raghuram Rajan in 2016. A seasoned bureaucrat, he has big shoes to fill and plenty of challenges to deal with from the word go.
The governor was the face of one of the Narendra Modi government’s most controversial policies — the abolition and replacement of high-value bank notes in an attempt to crack down on black money. As the most visible and vocal bureaucrat at the time, Das often came under fire.
On the first anniversary of demonetisation, he tweeted: “Significant gains for the economy. Great memories of this day last year.”
Das, 61, previously served on the central bank's board.
Last year, Das criticised the methodology of global rating agencies and sought a sovereign rating upgrade. Das has worked extensively in the budget division under both Narendra Modi's government and the previous coalition led by the Congress.
Talking on policy priorities, he said, "There are number of issues ahead. After the amendment of Reserve Bank of India Act, the inflation targeting continues to be very important and it is very heartening to note that the inflation is broadly as per the targets and the inflation outlook also looks fairly benign at this stage. However, we have to be very watchful of the developments.”
“The issue of liquidity also comes up in the media space and the public space from time to time. There again, I think that will be an area, where one has to interact with stakeholders and get an internal feedback and then take a view on these issues," Das said.
"The maintenance of the growth trajectory of the Indian economy is also important. So, there are several areas which central bank has to be dealing with and so we will focus on those areas. All these issues have been under focus. It is not as if these areas did not receive any attention, all these aspects have been receiving focus, but it is a continuing exercise on the part of the central bank and therefore we will continue to focus on these areas," the governor said.