Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday alleged that the central government was determined to "capture" the bank to gain control over its Rs 9 lakh crore reserves.
In a series of tweets, the former finance minister also claimed that the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was heading towards a "confrontation" in the Monday's board meeting of the bank.
"Government is determined to 'capture' RBI in order to gain control over the reserves. The other so-called disagreements are only a smokescreen (sic)," he said on microblogging site Twitter.
Government is determined to ‘capture’ RBI in order to gain control over the reserves. The other so-called disagreements are only a smokescreen— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 17, 2018
Chidambaram said, "Nowhere in the world is the central bank a board-managed company. To suggest that private business persons will direct the governor is a preposterous idea."
"November 19 will be a day of reckoning for central bank independence and the Indian economy," he tweeted.
November 19 will be a day of reckoning for central bank independence and the Indian economy— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 17, 2018
The RBI has a massive Rs 9.59 lakh crore reserves and the government, if reports are to be believed, wants the central bank to part with a third of that fund -- an issue which along with easing of norms for weak banks and raising liquidity has brought the two at loggerheads in the recent weeks.
The government on November 9 had said it was discussing an "appropriate" size of capital reserves that the central bank must maintain but denied seeking a massive capital transfer from the RBI.
Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg had also clarified that the government wasn't in any dire needs of funds and that there was no proposal to ask the RBI to transfer Rs 3.6 lakh crore.
"There is no proposal to ask RBI to transfer (Rs) 3.6 or (Rs) 1 lakh crore, as speculated," he had said.
"The government's FD (fiscal deficit) in FY 2013-14 was 5.1%. From 2014-15 onwards, the government has succeeded in bringing it down substantially. We will end the FY 2018-19 with FD of 3.3%. The government has actually foregone (Rs) 70,000 crore of budgeted market borrowing this year."
As government and RBI move towards a confrontation on Monday Nov 19, please read my column on Sunday Nov 18 in Indian Express and 8 Indian language newspapers— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 17, 2018
Garg said the only proposal "under discussion is to fix appropriate economic capital framework of RBI".
Economic capital framework refers to the risk capital required by the central bank while taking into account different risks.