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Parliamentary panel to summon Urjit Patel again on April 20

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017,15:38 IST By anju A A A

New Delhi | A Parliamentary panel has decided to summon Reserve Bank Governor Urjit Patel again to explain how much of the junked currency has been deposited in banks post note ban and the progress made in remonetisation.

The meeting of the Standing Committees on Finance, headed by former cabinet minister M Veerappa Moily, has been tentatively scheduled for April 20, sources privy to the development said.

Besides Patel, Economic Affairs Secretary Sashikanta Das and Financial Services Secretary Anjuly Chib Duggal are also being asked to appear before the Committee.

The panel, which had last met on the issue of “Demonetisation of Indian Currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000″ on January 18, is ascertaining the availability of the RBI and finance ministry officials on April 20.

This possibly may be the last oral evidence meeting of the committee before it finalises its report, sources said, adding that another meeting may have to be called if Patel does not appear on April 20.

The panel wants to know from the RBI Governor as well as the finance ministry officials the number of junked currency that was deposited in bank accounts post November 8, 2016 decision to demonetise higher denomination notes.

Also, it wants a brief on the process of remonetisation and by when is the entire progress of replacing the junked notes, which constituted 86 per cent of the total currency in circulation, will be replaced.

At the last meeting, Patel had not disclosed the number of banned notes that had been deposited in banks and had only stated that 9.2 lakh crore of new currency notes had been introduced. A total of Rs 15.44 lakh crore, representing about 86 per cent of all currency, was declared void on November 8 last year.

Sources said MPs may also like to question RBI and finance ministry officials on the rules being changed virtually on a daily basis on deposit of the junked currency.

At the last meeting, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had saved Patel from some tough questioning by his fellow party MPs.

He asked the embattled RBI Governor not to respond to a query by Digvijaya Singh on why banking restrictions were not being lifted as this would result in a run on banks.

The 31-member Standing Committee on Finance also comprises of Nishikant Dubey and Kirit Somaiya of BJP, Naresh Agarwal of SP, Dinesh Trivedi of TMC and Satish Chandra Misra of BSP.

RBI in a written note to the panel had stated that on November 7, 2016 the government “advised” it to scrap 500 and 1,000-rupee notes; a day later, the RBI Board cleared the move. Hours after that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a televised address in which he made the shock announcement.

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