BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s ranting against RBI governor Raghuram Rajan is now being countered in cyberspace.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s ranting against RBI governor Raghuram Rajan is now being countered in cyberspace. An online petition seeking a second term for Mr Rajan has gone viral with over 37,000 people signing it. Also backing Mr Rajan is the Amul ad campaign that asks for a “second helping”.
This even as commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday backed Dr Swamy, saying high interest rates have hit industry, especially small and medium enterprises. Earlier, rebuffing Dr Swamy, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said any decision on Mr Rajan would be taken by the government without succumbing to any outside pressure.
The petition, started by Bengaluru-based Rajesh Palaria a week ago, had just 2,500 signatures till Saturday, but has picked up. In the petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Palaria said Mr Rajan has been doing a great job balancing and manoeuvring the Indian economy through the populism that endangers it. The petition said Mr Rajan’s past record and laurels are well known. “I was recently noticing how Subramanian Swamy has been bullying and threatening him at large,” said the petition, adding that Mr Rajan is crucial to India’s growth story.
Meanwhile, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said high interest rates are impacting industry’s cost competitiveness, especially of small and medium enterprises. “I have already said that input cost cannot be so high. Particularly if we keep in mind those industries, say for small and medium industries who do not have any group companies or holding companies outside from where they can get cheap credit (sic). So interest rates do have a bearing on the cost competitiveness of industries,” Ms Sitharaman told a TV news channel. The minister was asked about Dr Swamy attacking the RBI governor for affecting the fortunes of mid-sized corporates by keeping interest rates high. Asked whether she agreed with Dr Swamy, Ms Sitharaman said: “Mid-sized corporates have been engaging with us. They have also voiced this. SMEs have voiced it. Industry, when interacting with the ministry, has also expressed similar views.”
Mr Rajan’s current three-year term as RBI chief ends this September. Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had created a controversy by suggesting that Mr Rajan be removed from his post and had accused him of being responsible for “unemployment and the collapse” of industrial activity.