As questions swirl around the independence of the Central Bank, the reserves of the RBI and the Indian government's eyes on the money, the bank is convening a critical board meeting today. News reports have stated that the government is proposing rules that would allow tighter supervision of the central bank, a move that may be anathema to the RBI Governor Urjit Patel and the IMF, which said it is closely watching moves made by the Indian government.
At stake is the bank's much vaunted independence and who has final say over its reserves. There are signs that the high-temperature standoff that happened between the bank and the government two weeks ago has cooled and both sides are attempting to find common ground.
Still, the government is chafing against the RBI resisting its attempt to collar its Rs. 3.6 lakh crore of reserves, which the bank says is essentially an emergency fund that cannot be touched. And the RBI has been cracking down on NPAs and restricting lending by several public sector banks, a problem for the government in an election year when it would like to see funds flowing freely. The Finance Ministry has reportedly suggested drawing up various panels to supervise RBI functions, right now managed by Urjit Patel and his team of governors. The move is likely to be met with resistance, and this meeting is likely to illuminate the differing views.