Jaitley keeps options open on extension of RBI governor’s term

New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) The Narendra Modi government is keeping its options open on a second term for Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was non-committal on whether he had made up his mind.

In response to a question whether a decision had been taken, the finance minister just shrugged his shoulders. He was responding to a group of journalists on Wednesday after a presentation was made by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the Modi government’s two years in office.

The government’s stand becomes important in view of Bharatiya Janata Party nominated member of Rajya Sabha, Subramanian Swamy’s letter to the prime minister on Thursday listing reasons why Rajan should not be given a second term.

Swamy has taken objection to, apart from other issues, raising of interest rates by the RBI and its approval for shariat-compliant investments.

When asked whether a decision on an RBI governor would need detailed discussions within the government, Jaitley said that it did. He refused to put a date by which the government would come out with its stand. Rajan’s first term ends on September 3. He was appointed RBI Governor by the previous UPA government.

Swamy has campaigned against Rajan saying his policies had affected the manufacturing sector because he raised interest rates when the need was to decrease them. He said it had led to a “mini-recession” in the country. He also told the prime minister in his letter that Rajan had “disparaged” the BJP by holding the government responsible for a “climate of intolerance” in the country.

On Wednesday, BJP president Amit Shah had distanced the party from Swamy’s attack saying he was not articulating the party’s view on Rajan.

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