Parliamentary Panel questions Urjit Patel over Demonetization from ‘head to toe’

New Delhi, Jan 8: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under the command of Senior Congress leader K.V. Thomas has told Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel to be available before it on January 28.

PAC has questioned him on the matter of demonetization listing all its concerns in 10 questions. The questions are asked – from the decision-making process to the amount of RBI’s involvement, impact on the economy, and “flip-flops” in RBI regulations.

The lists of questions were sent on December 30 and the Parliamentary panel has also asked Patel that Why he shouldn’t be prosecuted. It asked that if there are no laws that impose restrictions on withdrawal of cash the why shouldn’t you be removed for “abuse of power of office.”

The Indian Express revealed these questions listed here:

  • Union Minister Piyush Goyal has said on the floor of the House that the decision to demonetise was taken by the RBI and its Board. The government merely acted upon this advice. Do you concur?
    If the decision was indeed RBI’s, then when exactly did the RBI decide that it was in India’s best interests to demonetise currency?
  • What was the exact rationale laid out by the RBI for this decision to invalidate Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes overnight?
  • RBI’s own estimates show fake/ counterfeit currency to be a mere Rs 500 crore. India’s cash to GDP was 12%, lower than Japan (18%) and Switzerland (13%). High denomination notes as a share of currency was 86% in India, but 90% in China and 81% in US. So, what was so alarming that the RBI decided India needed to demonetise suddenly?
  • When was the notice sent to the RBI Board members calling for an emergency meeting on November 8? Which of them attended this meeting? How long the meeting did last? And where are the minutes of this meeting?
  • In the subsequent note sent to the Cabinet recommending demonetisation, did the RBI explicitly mention that this decision would mean invalidating 86 per cent of the country’s currency and its attendant cost? How long did the RBI say it would take to remonetise?
  • The RBI notification of November 8, 2016 under Section 3 c(v) issued a restriction on withdrawal from a bank account over the counter to Rs 10,000 per day and Rs 20,000 per week. There was a similar limit of Rs 2,000 per day in an ATM. Under what law and powers of the RBI, were these limitations imposed on people to withdraw their own cash? What gave the powers to the RBI to ration currency notes in the country? If there are no laws that you can cite, why should you not be prosecuted and removed for abuse of power of office?
  • Why have there been so many flip-flops in RBI regulations over the past two months? Please give us the name of the RBI officer who came up with the idea to ink people for withdrawal? Who drafted the notification on marriage related withdrawal? If it was not the RBI that drafted these but the government, is the RBI now a department of Ministry of Finance?
  • How much exactly was demonetised and how much has been deposited back in old currency? What was the expectation of notes to be extinguished when the RBI advised the government to demonetise on November 8?
  • Why has the RBI refused to reveal information under the RTI, citing inane reasons such as fear of personal injury? Why is the RBI not providing information under RTI to queries that come?

Wefornews Bureau

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