Les­sons from RBI and CBI

Los­ing heads of the in­sti­tu­tions shows care­less­ness by the govt

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Comment -

Acoun­try is judged by the qual­ity of its peo­ple and its in­sti­tu­tions, which is why re­cent events in In­dia re­gard­ing the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) and the Re­serve Bank of In­dia (RBI) are dis­turb­ing. In both in­sti­tu­tions, the cur­rent Bharatiya Janata Party-led Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance gov­ern­ment ap­pointed lead­ers of its choice (fine, sec­ond choice in CBI, be­cause its first choice wasn’t el­i­gi­ble at the time the va­cancy came about). Nei­ther Alok Verma at CBI, nor Ur­jit Pa­tel at RBI was the ap­pointee of an ear­lier gov­ern­ment that the cur­rent regime had to tol­er­ate. Yet, in both in­sti­tu­tions, the lead­ers rapidly fell into dis­favour with the gov­ern­ment.

In Mr Pa­tel’s case, this seems to have been driven by a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence of opin­ion on how the econ­omy should be man­aged and the ex­tent of the cen­tral bank’s au­ton­omy. Ex­pect­edly, he re­signed late last year cit­ing per­sonal rea­sons. The gov­ern­ment’s un­will­ing­ness or in­abil­ity to con­vince Mr Pa­tel to stay back re­mains a mys­tery. It will serve as the fil­ter through which any de­ci­sion of the new gover­nor and a new com­mit­tee to look into is­sues where the bank and the gov­ern­ment have a dif­fer­ent view is seen. Mr Verma’s case is more com­plex. He and his deputy (the man who would have been the gov­ern­ment’s first choice) were al­lowed to squab­ble, make al­le­ga­tions against each other, and then abruptly di­vested of their pow­ers. Since due pro­ce­dure wasn’t fol­lowed dur­ing his re­moval, the Supreme Court in­sisted that the de­ci­sion be re­versed, and re­in­stated him. Late last week, he was re­moved again, this time fol­low­ing due pro­ce­dure, but sev­eral ques­tions re­main unan­swered. These con­cern the na­ture of charges against Mr Verma, and the qual­ity and method­ol­ogy of the Cen­tral Vig­i­lance Com­mis­sion’s probe.

Ear­lier gov­ern­ments might have also been in­ter­fer­ing in their man­age­ment of in­sti­tu­tions but that’s re­ally no de­fence for the lack of trans­parency and the un­will­ing­ness to go the ex­tra mile in ex­plain­ing what went down in these im­por­tant or­gan­i­sa­tions. No gov­ern­ment, es­pe­cially not one that con­tin­ues to re­mind the coun­try of how pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments eroded the au­ton­omy of in­sti­tu­tions, can af­ford that. To lose one head of an in­sti­tu­tion may be a mis­for­tune; to lose two looks like care­less­ness.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.