Mamata rues ‘sad-but-true’ RBI transfer
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday expressed concern at the Centre’s move to dip into the Reserve Bank of India’s reserves and asserted that the economy was in “recession”.
Mamata, who chaired an administrative review meeting in Hooghly, said the Union government’s decision was “sad but true”.
“It is sad but true. The Reserve Bank’s money and gold are saved for emergencies. Even that money of the Reserve Bank is being taken away,” the Trinamul Congress chief said at the meeting, which was broadcast live.
Mamata was reacting to the apex bank’s decision on Monday to transfer a record Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the Centre, which some believe would enable the Narendra Modi government to crank up federal spending at a time it is looking for ways to boost a faltering economy.
“You must know there is a recession right now. Everywhere, there is a slump,” the chief minister said.
Recession is defined as a negative growth in the GDP over two successive quarters. While the Indian economy hasn’t yet faced such a situation, sources said Mamata was referring to the economic downturn.
Mamata said there could be a situation in the future where people might be forced to wonder if they would receive their salaries.
“I am not talking about us (Bengal government). But if things come to such a pass, nobody’s pay will remain safe. We have been doing everything we can. But we must always remember the tragic economic situation,” she said.
“People come and tell me, we have no food, nobody to work for…. Those who used to work outside Bengal are coming back…. We have reduced unemployment here by 40 per cent, unmatched in India. But in all other states, unemployment is at its highest in 45 years,” the chief minister added.
In the Assembly, finance minister Amit Mitra referred to Mamata’s “grave concern” over the shape of the economy.
“The Centre has taken a huge loan from the Reserve Bank. It has increased India’s risk…. The future of India has become a matter of worry. I am very worried…. The chief minister thinks it is a matter of grave concern. We have spoken on this,” Mitra said, adding that the RBI should have kept aside risk capital to combat a possible slide in the rupee against major currencies.