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Rift with Centre Doesn't Challenge RBI's Autonomy, Says Ex-SEBI Head

He said RBI has been enjoying functional autonomy and nothing has happened in the recent past that has taken this away.


Updated:November 27, 2018, 6:11 PM IST
Rift with Centre Doesn't Challenge RBI's Autonomy, Says Ex-SEBI Head
File photo of RBI headquarters in Mumbai. (Reuters)
Mumbai: Former SEBI chairman N Damodaran on Tuesday said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) continues to be a strong institution and its recent differences with the government does not challenge its autonomy.

He said RBI has been enjoying functional autonomy and nothing has happened in the recent past that has taken this away.

"There have been differences between the government and RBI many times. But the institution (RBI) has never suffered. I think now also to say that RBI's autonomy is being curtailed is wrong," Damodaran told reporters here on the sidelines of a financial distribution summit organised by CII.

He said in the past, differences between the central bank and the government were sorted through private
conversations between the governor and the finance minister, and people outside would not hear of it.

Now, it has become a matter of public discourse and all sorts of people, outside of the government and RBI, have jumped into the fray.

"I think this stand-off is not insurmountable. Everybody thinks it is a major loss, but nothing of that kind has happened," Damodaran stressed.

He said a mature conversation between both the sides, carried out in private, will help iron out the differences.

"The government's agenda will always be pro-growth and RBI has the responsibility to see that the price line is maintained and inflation doesn't get out of control. How to harmoniously construct both, will have to be through conversation," he said.

It doesn't help if people go to the press and make statements, he added.

Earlier in his speech, he said when it comes to financial literacy, there is a huge knowledge asymmetry
between those selling and consuming financial products.

Speaking of the interdependence of trust and technology in the financial sector, he said if trust disappears, technology will be irrelevant. "You need technology and transparency, but you need trust," he said.

Talking about risk management, he said it has been and always be important but is not been given adequate attention.
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