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The government stressed on Wednesday that the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is "essential" as it sought to calm investors anxious about a growing public quarrel with the central bank.

While speculation abounded on Wednesday about whether the government had invoked Section 7 of the RBI Act, which would give the government the ability to direct the central bank's actions, the Finance Ministry remained studiously silent on the issue.

"Both government and the central bank, in their functioning, have to be guided by public interest and the requirements of the Indian economy".

"The Central government may from time to time give such directions to the bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the bank, consider necessary in the public interest", Section 7 of the RBI Act reads. According to reports, the Modi government had invoked Section 7 first time soon after Allahabad court's verdict in RBI versus Power companies. Neither the government nor the RBI has signaled any thaw of any of these specific issues yet. The statement issued by the union said, the hiatus has widened now and the deputy governor has spoken more "in disgust and despondency" due to continuous nibbling by the government and the finance ministry.

"Still it does sound like the finance ministry is trying to dial down the temperature".

However, sources confirmed to India Today TV that Section 7 of the RBI Act has been invoked by the government after the letter was sent to the RBI last week.

The rupee fell to 73.99 to the dollar from 73.6750 on Tuesday, after touching 74.04, its lowest since October 15.

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The 10-year benchmark bond yield rose to 7.87 per cent from its previous close of 7.83 per cent. In particular, the central bank is not directly subject to political time pressures and the induced neglect of the future; by virtue of being nominated rather than elected, central bankers have horizons of decision-making that tend to be longer than that of governments, spanning election cycles or war periods.

There is an "irreversible breakdown between RBI governor and the government", one of the source added.

NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) are suffering from asset-liability mismatches (ALM), CII noted adding that in a worst-case scenario, this could lead to a run on mutual funds and defaults in the NBFC sector.

"If RBI's top brass exits, there is a likelihood of instability that will be perceived, and that can have an impact on the economy and the market at large". He further sought independent working of the Central Bank.

The rift between RBI and the Centre came into highlight after RBI published a dissent note on its website, expressing its disagreement with the government in setting up a separate payments regulator.

Earlier, finance minister Arun Jaitley had accused the central bank of sleeping on the job for its failure to check indiscriminate lending by public sector banks between 2008 and 2014.

However, there was no sign of resignation by Patel at the meeting, officials said.


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