In his first press conference after assuming charge as the governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday said that he "will do everything to uphold the core values and autonomy of the central bank."
"I will try and uphold professionalism, core values, credibility and autonomy of this institution. It’s an honour and great opportunity to serve RBI. I will try my best to work with everyone and work in the interest of the Indian economy," Das was quoted as saying by ANI.
Describing the RBI as an institution with a great legacy, Das said that it has the core competence to deal with any technical or monetary issue.
He said he is looking forward to work with the entire RBI team. Das mentioned that in the past 10 years he had worked with officials of the RBI at all levels and found them to be competent. "I am looking forward to working with the entire team," he said.
Making a reference to the several challenges the banking sector was facing, Das said: A lot has been done both by the government and RBI. Several measures have been taken and several more has to be taken.
Talking about how complex decision-making is in modern times, Das said consultation with stakeholders is very important and adds value and depth to the understanding of issues. Towards that end [of consultation] Das said, he has convened a meeting with CEOs and MDs of public sector banks on Thursday.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das: I have convened a meeting with CEOs & MDs of public sector banks tomorrow morning. Banking is an important segment in our economy&it’s facing several challenges that need to be dealt with. It's the banking sector on which I’d like to focus immediately pic.twitter.com/8E66CKzJ7U
— ANI (@ANI) December 12, 2018
"Subsequently, at some stage, we will have an interaction with private sector banks too. On the whole, I will like to focus on the banking sector and also meet with other stakeholders as required," the governor said.
Regarding inflation, the newly appointed governor said it is 'heartening to know that inflation is as per target and inflation outlook looks fairly benign but we have to be watchful'.
With regard to liquidity issues, Das said it is one area that 'one has to interact with stakeholders and take a view'. He also said that maintenance of growth of the economy is also important and the RBI will continue to focus on it. "I want to be clear that all these areas have been getting focus but it is a continuing process."
Das said the RBI Board meeting will take place as scheduled on 14 December and will discuss growth and various other issues.
He also commented on the 'stewardship provided by Urjit Patel in the past two and a half years'.
After his maiden press conference, reporters asked Das about his views on 'governance' issues that have been plaguing the central bank and the government. Das refused to comment on it except to say that he would not like to go into the specifics. However, he said: The government is not a stakeholder but runs the economy, country and manages policy decisions. There has to be a free and fair consultation. I would like to believe that all issues, however contentious, can be resolved through consultation.
The new RBI governor refused to comment on several issues stating that he has 'to settle down'. He refused to comment on easing of capital requirements, a bone of contention with RBI and the government, saying that if he commented on that, the media will put out a 'different headline'.
A question was raised about RBI's 12th February circular that specified that if a resolution was not found by 27 August power producers accounts should be sent to bankruptcy courts. To that Das said he would not comment on individual issues. "My personal views on these matters don't matter. I need to understand these views," he said.
When asked about interest rates, Das said, that would be decided by the monetary policy committee. "Infation targeting is an important function of the RBI which the MPC has to fulfill."
Das was asked why he felt the need to say it repeatedly that he would uphold the integrity, autonomy and credibility of the central bank. He said that he had been reading a lot in the last two-three days about it and given that he has a background in government, he wanted to make the 'ground rules clear'.
The RBI governor was asked if deputy governor Viral Acharya was still with the RBI, to which Das quipped: I had tea with him.
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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2018 17:26:57 IST