Urjit Patel Briefs MPs, Says Rs 9.2 Lakh Cr in New Notes Issued

Urjit Patel did not respond to questions over how much of the demonetised currency has been deposited into banks. 

2 min read
RBI Governor Urjit Patel. (Photo: Reuters)

Briefing the Parliament's standing committee on finance over the demonetisation issue, Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel on Wednesday informed the members of the committee that Rs 9.2 lakh crore in new currency has been introduced in the economy since the note ban came into effect on 9 November 2016.

Patel also informed the the panel headed by Congress leader Veerappa Moily that the process of demonetisation started in January 2016, NDTV reported.

The report adds that the government had “advised” the RBI to cancel the high-value notes on 7 November, a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the ban.

The Opposition has slammed the RBI chief’s move to evade questions over how much of the demonetised currency made its way back to the banking system. Opposition leaders have also demanded Patel’s resignation.

Speaking at a press conference, Congress’ Gulam Nabi Azad said:

RBI’s autonomy is lost, it has now become a rubber stamp of the government... if I see the RBI Governor anywhere I won’t be able to recognise him as he is hardly visible in the newspapers or on TV... the RBI Governor should resign.
The RBI headquarters in Mumbai. (Photo: Reuters)
The RBI headquarters in Mumbai. (Photo: Reuters)

Members of Committee Unimpressed

Members of the Parliamentary Committee remained unimpressed with arguments put forth by the RBI governor to the panel over the impact of demonetisation on the economy, and the steps taken by the central bank to deal with the cash crunch after the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

TMC MP and panel member Sugata Roy criticised Patel for his presentation. He told ANI:

The RBI Governor was unable to tell us how much money has come back to the banks... Nor was he able to tell us when the system will be normal.

However, according to an NDTV report, the Patel found support from unexpected quarters after former Prime Minister, and senior Congress leader, Manmohan Singh asked him to not answer questions that may cause problems.

Besides Patel, the parliamentary committee was also briefed by senior bureaucrats, including Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikant Das, Banking Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal and Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, and top bank honchos like Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank and Usha Ananthasubramanian of Punjab National Bank.

(With ANI inputs)

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