RBI and centre lock horns over Electoral bonds, DEA Secy in 2017 didn't want to share details with RBI?

The Reserve Bank of India and the central government are in disagreement regarding the draft notification for issuance of electoral bonds. The then Secretary (Economic Affairs) Subhash Garg had clearly instructed that the concerned file should not be sent to RBI until asked. He had allegedly written the instructions on September 1, 2017, on the said file himself. When the opposite happened, he questioned, “I had specifically directed on file not to issue this until asked. Why has it been done?”

According to a report by the Indian Express based on the documents obtained by transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj, the paper revealed that Prashant Goyal, then Joint Secretary in the Budget Division under the Department of Economic Affairs, had shared the operational details of Electoral bonds in a confidential letter to RBI Deputy Governor BP Kanungo.

In a letter dated August 30, 2017, Goyal had asked RBI to send a draft notification “incorporating the detailed operational modalities” of the proposed bonds within two weeks. Garg asked for an explanation the day after on September 1, 2017.

Goyal also justified his questioning saying that a “similar process was followed while notifying PM Garib Kalyan Deposit Scheme”. He later wrote on September 7 in the file, “We could have prepared the draft notification taking inputs from RBI, if needed, on phone. Anyway, now pl complete the process of draft notification & show me the same.”

Garg answered the paper accepting his take on the issue and said, “There are much deeper issues involved here. The entire context is so important to understand. I will return in 2-3 days and then we can discuss.”

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