RBI Governor Urjit Patel’s appearance before a parliamentary panel for a second briefing on demonetisation has been put off from May 25 to June 8, as work on framing the monetary policy would be underway at that time.
The Standing Committee on Finance, which had questioned Patel on January 18 on the move to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes, allowed him to appear at the later date after he issued a request expressing his inability.
Patel had been asked to appear on May 25 after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh prevailed over the BJP MPs in the panel, who were opposed to summoning the RBI governor again.
Incidentally, it was Singh who had rescued Patel from a tough grilling during the January meeting when he intervened to say that the central bank and the governor’s position as an institution should be respected.
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He should not be put to odd questions, Singh, who himself was RBI governor once, is believed to have told the Committee. “Patel was supposed to come on May 25 but it was postponed following his request expressing his unavailability on the day due to the monetary policy which is scheduled for June 6-7,” a member said.
Instead of Patel, all secretaries from Finance Ministry will be present on May 25 to update the panel, which is chaired by Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, about digital economy, he said.
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, who is a member of the panel, has suggested to the chairman that it should now deliberate on digital economy, as “demonetisation was not an issue any more”.
In January, the panel had summoned top finance ministry and RBI officials to discuss the demonetisation process and its impact. As the members could not complete their questions, the committee had decided to call the RBI governor and ministry officials again on a later date, after the Budget session.
Sources privy to developments said the members in the panel are now likely to question Patel on how much money has come back into the system.