Tamil Magazine Editor S. Gurumurthy ‘Pressurised’ to Take RBI Board Membership

A chartered accountant and editor of Tamil political magazine ‘Thuglak’ S. Gurumurthy said he was pressured to take up the board position in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).



Gurumurthy said so in an email to the Secretary General of the Indian Association of Bank Employees (AIBEA) CH Venkatachalam and also dared the latter to share the mail with the union members.

As a postscript to his email, Gurumurthy told Venkatachalam, “You all think that me being in the RBI Council is a big thing. I was pressured to take on this position as there were not many people to give a contrary opinion to the RBI board.”

“I didn’t need it and I didn’t seek it. For decades I had never held a position in government or with government. I never will either.”

“I on the RBI board have been criticized by Western financial media, and I am glad that you, a communist, now share their views,” Gurumurthy added.

Continue further. Gurumurthy said he never allowed anyone in any public forum to state that he was on the RBI board in introductory remarks.

“You have expressed serious concerns about my presence on the RBI Board. You may not be aware that if I am not on the RBI Board it makes very little difference to me “said Gurumurthy.

Gurumurthy wrote to Venkatachalam in response to the latter’s social media post condemning him for his comments during Thuglak magazine’s annual feature on public sector bankers.

Speaking at Thuglak magazine’s annual ceremony, Gurumurthy said public sector banks were losing talented civil servants to the private sector due to low salaries and lack of freedom.

“There are only scum and garbage left in the public sector banks and with them the country needs to be globally competitive in the financial sector,” he said.

Gurumurthy also said that until the government has a majority stake in its banks, it is not possible to encourage talented staff.

Reacting to this, Venkatachalam said, “We strongly condemn his unwarranted comments and demand his immediate apology. He is unfit to serve on the RBI board and the government should remove him from this important position.”

Gurumurthy in his email to Venkatachalam said, “I wouldn’t have written if I hadn’t known you and you hadn’t invited me to the AIBEA workshop. Your post started a campaign against me.”

Stating that many campaigns were made against him earlier, Gurumurthy said, “I never cared about campaigns against me by anyone, as I do not belong to any party, nor do I seek or have need the courtesy of anyone, by the grace of the Divine, I believe, so it’s not to respond to any campaign.

“I have always opposed and will continue to oppose privatization because I believe that with all the flaws, the majority of banking assets in India must be in the hands of the state. The Indian economy will be ruined if most of the financial sector falls into private hands with the expansion and contraction of the Rupee depends on the dollar,” Gurumurthy said.

“I resisted within RBI all efforts to pressure the government to privatize when former RBI governors were in charge,” he added.

Regarding his speech at the Thuglak magazine function, Gurumurthy said that the UPA government’s policies of leaving huge FII investments in the stock market has led to indigestible money in the system.

To lend this money, the government lowered tariffs to zero for capital goods in order to encourage industrialists to borrow from banks.

Gurumurthy said the government had persuaded the industry to undertake huge expansions in the hope that India would transform into a high-growth, export-driven economy.

According to Gurumurthy, the ensuing huge recession 2008-09 caused many hundreds of thousands of crore to be invested and loaned funds, NPA (non-performing asset) and which was also later accepted by the former governor of RBI Raghuram Rajan.

“This is where the woes of the PSBs (public sector banks) began. Not a single political party, including the BJP and CPI-M or the banking unions, has told the truth about the source of the problems of the NPA. Guilty officials in the Ministry of Finance who run telbanking have been confused with the UPA and NDA governments, to suppress the truth,” Gurumurthy said.

Continuing further, he said that the issue of the NPA, the action against it by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), prudential standards has completely shaken the officers of the bank.

“It gave a huge opportunity to banks and private funds which had their peak because the best loan accounts were transferred to them. They started offering high salaries and attracting competent officers from the PSB,” said Gurumurthy.

As a result, several competent officials left the PSBs and he had referred to the remaining officials as “kazhisadai”, which means that the remains or those who could not pass through the filter, remained inside.

“It’s a fact and I stand by it,” Gurumurthy said.

Referring to the declining share of PSB loans in total banking sector loans, Gurumurthy said: “At this rate, PSBs do not need to be privatized. that government and municipal accounts and all corporate accounts will be taken care of by private banks The fact that we do not have and are not generating and training the necessary talent in PSOs to manage 60% of the National savings that go into PSOs is indisputable. It’s a matter of concern for everyone, including the government,” he said.

“If you are a responsible trade unionist you will be worried, talk about it and do not play politics. I wrote this because you invited me to speak at the AIBEA and you know that our points of view converge on PSBs in many ways,” Gurumurthy told Venkatachalam. and also asked if he had the courage to circulate his mail to AIBEA members.

“I won’t make this public unless you do. If you do, have the courage to publish it in full,” Gurumurthy said.

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