RBI Dy Governor Viral Acharya pitches for independence of central bank

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Viral Acharya, while advocating for the independence of the central bank, said that if the government would not respect the autonomy of the bank it will incur the wrath of financial markets.

“Governments that do not respect central bank independence will sooner or later incur the wrath of financial markets, ignite the economic fire, and come to rue the day they undermined an important regulatory institution,” he said while speaking at the AD Shroff Memorial Lecture in Mumbai on Friday.

The RBI deputy governor tore into the government and said that the market can discipline the government and it can also make it pay for its transgressions.

He further said that the market also forces central banks to remain accountable and independent when it is under government pressure.

Pointing a cricketing analogy, the RBI deputy governor said that the government’s horizon of decision making is rendered short like a T20 match.

“A central bank plays a Test match, trying to win each session, but importantly also survive it so as to have a chance to win the next session, and so on,” he said.

Underlining the Reserve Bank Act, 1935 and the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, Acharya said though the RBI has derived several important powers from the two acts but the effective independence with which these powers can be exercised in practice is important.

He also said that in regulation of public sector banks, the Reserve Bank is “statutorily limited in undertaking the full scope of actions such as asset divestiture, replacement of management and board, license revocation, and resolution actions such as mergers or sales – all of which it can and does deploy effectively in case of private banks.”

Taking an example of the banking system of across the world, Acharya said that the central bank is an institution separate from the government and not a department of the executive function of the government.