RBI Governor Urjit Patel will address the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Thursday and answer questions from PAC members on a CAG report on public debt management. Patel’s predecessor Raghuram Rajan had also appeared before the panel some days ago but on a different issue. Rajan talked to the members on his pet theme, the non-performing assets of public sector banks.
The CAG report was tabled during the monsoon session and it had pointed out that the existing legal framework did not define the term ‘Public Debt’. Urging the Centre and the RBI to create a strong legal framework, the report also said that the existing framework does not indicate the objectives of public debt and borrowing purpose, and also does not require the formulation of a debt management strategy.
“There are a number of issues the RBI must address regarding public debt management. The RBI Governor’s presence in the meeting will be helpful for the members to get a perspective of the regulators,” a member of the panel said.
The CAG report had said that at present, debt management is governed by the Constitution of India and various primary and secondary legislations like the RBI Act, Public Debt Act, FRBM Act, FRBM Rules, and Government Securities Act. The total outstanding public debt of India as on March 31, 2015, was ₹51,04,675 crore, of which ₹47,38,291 crore (92.82 per cent) was internal debt and ₹3,66,384 crore (7.18 per cent) was external debt.
The PAC report is slated for submission during the winter session of Parliament.