The RBI defied expectations by keeping interest rates steady on Wednesday. The Indian central bank was expected to cut interest rates in light of the cash crunch following the announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
But the central bank also made headlines for keeping the journalists of two international publications out of the governor’s press conference.
Stanley Pignal of The Economist tweeted about being denied access to the press conference and questioned the decision given he had covered previous press conferences. He also said it raised questions about transparency:
Amazing stuff: @theeconomist us no longer invited to RBI policy meeting press conferences. Won’t let me in. Sad day for transparency.— Stanley Pignal (@spignal) December 7, 2016
RBI spokeswoman says decision to exclude me has nothing to do with @TheEconomist (critical) coverage of demonetisation.— Stanley Pignal (@spignal) December 7, 2016
I’ve been critical of new governor not speaking to press, did not expect RBI to freeze us out of press conference. It’s their call obviously— Stanley Pignal (@spignal) December 7, 2016
Amazing to go from being granted interviews of @RBI governor in June to excluded from press conferences in November, no warning/explanation— Stanley Pignal (@spignal) December 7, 2016
The BBC’s Sameer Hashmi also tweeted about being excluded:
Even the BBC has not been allowed for the press conference. Indeed a sad day for transparency https://t.co/Fio28kCyHi— Sameer Hashmi (@sameerhashmi) December 7, 2016
‘Space Constraint’ is the official reason.Ironic! It was only last yr that @RBI moved to a bigger room for press confs to acco more journos— Sameer Hashmi (@sameerhashmi) December 7, 2016
What happened today was a rude shock – considering I have interviewed Raghuram Rajan thrice & attended so many @rbi press confs in the past— Sameer Hashmi (@sameerhashmi) December 7, 2016
The two reporters from the foreign media outlets were not given access to the press conference due to ‘space constraints’.
And the central bank has been getting slammed for this:
good/bad: RBI’s “no-cut” decision speaks well of the governor’s independence; but the decision to bar The Economist/BBC is downright petty— sukumar ranganathan (@mint_ed) December 7, 2016
RBI throws out the economist. Not for the first time this year. 😂— Aisi Taisi Democracy (@AisiTaisiDemo) December 7, 2016
Instead of being transparent and doing his job, RBI Governor stopped BBC and The Economist from attending policy conference. Disgusting.— Shubhashish (@shubHASHISH) December 7, 2016
The govt is lurching about like Keshto Mukerjee who is seriously drunk. The Economist’s Stanley Pignal was ‘banned’ from RBI presser.— Sujata Anandan (@sujataanandan) December 7, 2016