Stealing band-aid from dispensary to stick on gunshot wound: Rahul Gandhi taunts Centre over RBI transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh cr

On Tuesday, Congress tore into the Centre after the RBI approved a transfer of record Rs 1.76 lakh crore dividend and surplus reserves to the government.

While slamming BJP-led government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said “PM & FM are clueless about how to solve their self-created economic disaster. Stealing from RBI won’t work—it is like stealing a Band-Aid from the dispensary and sticking it on a gunshot wound."

On Monday, the government won and the RBI lost in what turned out to be an attritional war that saw a Governor being scalped. One can argue that the central bank works at the pleasure of the government and the RBI Act says this with great clarity. Mint Street after its board meeting announced that it will transfer a surplus of a little over Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the government.

Even Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala hit-out at the Centre, asking whether this Rs 1.76 lakh crore will be used to save BJP's crony friends? In a separate tweet, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wondered whether the move was "fiscal prudence or fiscal hara-kiri".

He also wondered if it was coincidence that the Rs 1.76 lakh crore borrowed by the RBI matches with the "missing amount" in the budget calculations. "Is it a sheer coincidence that the Rs 1.76 Lakh Crore borrowed by RBI matches with the 'Missing' amount in the Budget Calculations," he asked. "Is this fiscal prudence or fiscal hara-kiri? Will this Rs 1.76 Lakh Crore be used to save BJP's crony friends," he also asked. The Congress leader attached a media report on "the mystery of the 'missing' Rs 1.7 Lakh Crore in India's budget". His party colleague and spokesperson Sanjay Jha said in a tweet said, "Robbed Bank of India: RBI."

Governor Shaktikanta Das-led RBI central board gave its nod for transferring to the government a sum of Rs 1,76,051 crore comprising Rs 1,23,414 crore of surplus for the year 2018-19 and Rs 52,637 crore of excess provisions identified as per the revised Economic Capital Framework (ECF), the apex bank said in a statement.

The excess reserve transfer is in line with the recommendation of former RBI governor Bimal Jalan-led panel constituted to decide size of capital reserves that the central bank should hold. The government was represented by Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar in the panel which finalised its report on August 14 by consensus.

The receipts from the RBI will give a fillip to the government's efforts to boost the economy from a five-year low. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had last week announced a slew of measures to prop up growth even as the government tried to stick to the target of keeping fiscal deficit at 3.3 per cent of the GDP. The additional cash will now give the Centre more headroom for stimulating the economy.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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