Reverse Bank of India: RBI flip-flops earn opposition wrath

New Delhi: It is now “Reverse Bank of India”, the Congress said on Wednesday after the RBI partially withdrew its order barring people from depositing over Rs 5,000 in spiked currency more than once until December 30 — the latest flip-flop that drew sharp criticism from other opposition parties also.

While the CPI-M said the government was operating whimsically over its November 8 decision to recall 86 per cent — in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes — of the total currency in circulation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emphasised that confusing rules and flip-flops meant that the government had lost control over banks.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the government and the Reserve Bank of India had changed rules 126 times in the last 43 days of demonetisation.

“What kind of a joke is it with the people and economy of the nation? Is this how (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji will run the government?” Surjewala questioned.

He said the demonetisation and frequent changes in the banking rules have “broken the backbone of common people and farmers” in India.

Surjewala also lashed out at the government and the RBI over a December 19 decision restricting people from depositing over Rs 5,000 in now spiked currency notes more than once.

The order was partially rolled back for the account holders who have completed their ‘Know Your Customer’ formalities, including PAN and Aadhar numbers.

The Congress leader said there were 55 lakh bank accounts, of which only 36 lakh were KYC-compliant.

“So there will be restriction on the remaining 19 lakh accounts. If you are poor, from remote places, do not have PAN card and do not have KYC account, you will not be able to deposit over Rs 5,000 in your account till December 30, even if it is your hard earned money.”

Marxist leader Brinda Karat said the whole demonetisation exercise was a “whimsical, unplanned and anti-people” move.

“The point is that they (the government) wake up, they think something, and by the sunset they have got another idea,” Karat told IANS.

The AAP alleged that the government had lost control over the banks due to its and RBI’s confusing rules.

AAP spokesman Ashutosh said: “The country has never seen such a funny situation. Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) said people will not be inconvenienced. However, banks are still asking for written explainations. It seems that the banks are not listening to the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister.”

Coming down heavily on the RBI, the Janata Dal-United dubbed the central bank “a caged parrot”.

“The RBI has became like the CBI that was called a caged parrot by the Supreme Court” as the anti-corruption probe agency operated under commands of the government, JD-U leader Ali Anwar told IANS.

“There is a huge difference between previous RBI head Raghuram Rajan and present boss Urjit Patel.

“I feel bad for the RBI as Rajan had taken it to new heights during his tenure whereas Patel has ruined it. He has tarnished the image of the RBI.”

Yogendra Yadav of the Swaraj India Party demanded Patel’s resignation “for sacrificing autonomy and eroding public confidence in this sacred institution”.