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Will reverse "illegal interference" by BJP govt in RBI functioning: Cong manifesto

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New Delhi, April 2: The Congress Tuesday said monetary policy is the province of the Reserve Bank of India and the party will "reverse the unwarranted and illegal interference by the BJP government into the functioning of the RBI" if voted to power.

It also promised to review and replace the current Goods and Services Tax laws with "the GST 2.0 regime", which will be based on a "single, moderate, standard rate of tax" on all goods and services.

"The Congress will respect the autonomy of the RBI in matters reserved to the RBI under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1939, including the formulation of monetary policy," the party said in its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls.

In October last year, a row was sparked off when RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya warned in a hard-hitting speech that undermining central bank's independence could be "potentially catastrophic", a possible indication of the RBI being pushed to relax its policies ahead of general elections.

On December 10 last year, the then Reserve Bank governor Urjit Patel unexpectedly resigned. Patel, who is the first governor since 1990 to step down before his term ends, in a brief statement cited "personal reasons" for the decision.

The Congress stated in the manifesto that "monetary policy is the province of the Reserve Bank of India".

"The Congress promises to reverse the unwarranted and illegal interference by the BJP government into the functioning of the RBI. However, the governor shall periodically render an account to a committee of Parliament," it said.

The Congress also promised that the government would work closely with the RBI to ensure that fiscal policy and monetary policy were aligned to achieve the common goal of growth with price stability.

Regarding the GST, the manifesto said,"The Congress promises to review and replace the current GST laws with the GST 2.0 regime that will truly reflect the intent and purpose of a non-cascading, value-added, indirect tax."

The Congress added that this regime would be based on "single, moderate, standard rate of tax" on all goods and services.

"The rate will be revenue neutral to the current indirect tax revenues of the central and state governments and will take note of the potential of GST 2.0 to boost their tax revenues," it said.

The party said,"The Congress promises that real estate (all sectors), petroleum products, tobacco and liquor will be brought within the ambit of GST 2.0 in a manner and time period not exceeding 2 years agreed to in the GST Council."

In its manifesto, the party also promised a comprehensive review of the concept, role and functions of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) in order to make them robust and competitive with healthy balance sheets.

"The Congress will amalgamate 2 or more PSBs so that there will be only 6-8 PSBs with a national presence and reach. Each of the amalgamated PSBs will be adequately capitalised," it said.

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