House panel summons RBI’s Urjit Patel over note ban after Manmohan’s prod
The parliamentary standing committee on finance on Thursday decided to call Reserve Bank of India’s governor, Urjit Patel, to depose on demonetisation at its next meeting on May 25, apart from discussing the level of corporate governance observed by India Inc.india Updated: Apr 20, 2017 23:06 IST
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel has been asked by a parliamentary panel to appear before it again on May 25 over the demonetisation issue after former prime minister Manmohan Singh prevailed over BJP MPs in the panel to call him.
Sources told Hindustan Times the decision to summon Patel was made at the insistence of Singh, a former RBI governor himself, who had earlier come to Patel’s rescue in the last meeting in January. When Patel was confronted with tough questions from parliamentarians – including queries on the exact amount of demonetised currencies deposited during the 50-day window and the time by when normalcy would return to the banking system – Singh had intervened, saying that the governor’s institution should be respected. The former PM said that Patel didn’t have to answer all questions.
Singh is one of the members of the panel, headed by Congress leader Veerappa Moily.
At the last meeting in January, Patel failed to provide any figure for how many banned notes had been deposited into the banking system and he did not provide clarity on when the cash situation would become normal.
The lawmakers’ panel, which was so far quizzing policymakers on demonetisation, also decided to debate the digital transaction model being promoted by the Centre to push a cash-dependent country to a “less-cash” economy.
“We have clubbed the agendas of demonetisation and digitization. We have already asked finance ministry officials and RBI governor twice. So we decided to take up corporate governance and CSR today,” Moily said.
On Thursday, the House panel questioned industry chambers on how companies are using funds meant for corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. Many parliamentarians such as BJP MP Nishikant Dubey pointed out that India Inc was largely restricting their CSR spending in a few areas such as Mumbai, and not doing enough for backward regions such as Jharkhand, sources said. The panel also questioned the lack of transparency in the functioning of CSR trusts.
The panel further sought details of the independent directors and to determine whether any other interests were being served the interests instead of the investors.