Congress Takes Aim At Urjit Patel In Latest Attack On Notes Ban

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Congress Takes Aim At Urjit Patel In Latest Attack On Notes Ban

The Congress questioned RBI governor Urjit Patel's role in the ban on Rs 500 and 1,000 notes.


New Delhi:  Urjit Patel, who took charge of the Reserve Bank of India less than three months ago, has found himself in the crosshairs of the Congress party's latest attack against the government's big demonetisation move.

Calling the decision to ban 500 and 1,000 rupee notes announced earlier this month a "political" one, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh questioned the RBI Governor's role in the policy billed as one against corruption but criticised for poor planning and execution.

"The RBI Governor didn't advise the government that he was supposed to," said Mr Ramesh. The attack followed a scathing piece in the Congress party's journal National Herald, where he wrote, "Urjit Patel is either guilty of misleading the nation about RBI's preparedness on demonetisation, or has sacrificed the autonomy of the RBI. Either way he should resign."

According to Mr Ramesh, the main goal of the radical move to create a distraction from pressing issues.

"The other main reason is that the Prime Minister has seen the writing on the wall with regard to UP elections... That's why he wanted some dramatic move," said Mr Ramesh at a press conference on Sunday.

The Congress leader's attack drew a response from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who called it "unfair". "Must politicians attack those who can't defend themselves in the same tone?" he tweeted.

Meanwhile, speaking out over the demonetisation in an interview to Press Trust of India, Urjit Patel on Sunday said the RBI is taking steps to "ease the genuine pain of citizens who are honest and who have been hurt".

The sudden withdrawal of high value banknotes - which formed around 86 per cent of the currency in circulation - has been hailed by many as a pathbreaking step against tax evasion and corruption but has also drawn criticism for leaving millions of India's stranded without cash.


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