The board of Reserve Bank of India, under new governor Shaktikanta Das, has set the basic rule that would determine future payout by the central bank to the government. At its last meeting, the board is learnt to have recorded the decision that the central bank will not touch the ‘unrealised gains’ in its balance sheet for dividend distribution to its sole shareholder, the government. “Unrealised gain is valuation gain in currency and gold. To tap this, it has to be realised or converted in the market. This is now ruled out… this has been minuted,” a person familiar with the matter told.
Of RBI’s total reserves of 10.46 lakh crore, about 6.9 lakh crore is recorded under ‘currency and gold revaluation account’ while 2.32 lakh crore is ‘contingency fund’. The quantum of dividend to the government and the sharing of any surplus over and above RBI’s economic capital has been a contentious issue between RBI and the government – reviving the old question on what’s the optimum capital that RBI should maintain.