Mumbai/New Delhi: The Congress party has opposed the appointment of S. Gurumurthy and Satish Marathe to the board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) citing their association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Nomination of S. Gurumurthy as RBI director evidences a deliberate and diabolical design to infiltrate independent and premier institutions like RBI with RSS-backed right wingers," said Randeep Surjewala, chief spokesperson of Congress party told Mint.
“Considering that Mr. Gurumurthy takes pride in advising the PM on demonetization disaster, his inclusion in the principal financial regulator of India can be catastrophic for India’s economy," he said.
The finance ministry declined to comment.
On Tuesday, the government notified the appointment of Gurumurthy and Marathe as part–time, non-official directors on the central board of RBI.
Gurumurthy is presently the editor of Thuglak, a weekly political magazine in Tamil language. A chartered accountant by profession, he is associated with the RSS and is the convener of Swadeshi Jagran Manch.
He is known for his strong criticisms of RBI’s policies which includes those of former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan. For instance, Gurumurthy criticized the removal of forbearance on restructuring and massive clean-up of bank balance sheets that were introduced by Rajan.
He has also been a supporter of the view that the central bank’s money should be used to recapitalize public sector lenders.
On the news of his appointment, Gurumurthy wrote on Twitter, “This is the first directorship ever. Never accepted any private or PSU directorship. Not even audit of PSUs or Pvt cos. Wanted to be free to speak. But when pressure built up I am needed to do something in public interest I had to accept."
RBI watchers, however, believe that Gurumurthy’s appointment may do little to impact RBI policy. “This appointment has a slightly political connotation. So far, all earlier appointees have refrained from this path. This is a clear exception. While the board members may at times create a lack of harmony but I do not think it can change the essential course of the central bank," said a former deputy governor of the RBI.
Shayan Ghosh from Mumbai and Remya Nair from New Delhi contributed to this story.