The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday refrained from cutting the benchmark lending rate, leaving the rate unchanged at 4 percent. This was announced by the six-member Monetary Policy Committee headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
This is the 24th meeting of the MPC. In its last Monetary Policy on May 22, the Reserve Bank of India unexpectedly slashed the repo rate by 40 bps to 4%. The reverse repo rate was also reduced by 40 basis points to 3.35%.
The MPC has cumulatively cut the repo rate by 115 basis points over these two meetings, resulting in total policy rate reduction of 250 basis points since February 2019, with an aim to boost economic growth. The central bank has been taking steps proactively to limit the damage to the economy caused by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
The government has tasked RBI to keep inflation at 4 per cent (+, – 2 per cent). The central bank mainly factors in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) while formulating the monetary policy.
Higher prices of food items, especially meat, cereals and pulses, pushed the CPI-based retail inflation to 6.09 per cent in June. The inflation rate for July will be announced on August 12.
The monetary policy was in an accommodative mode even before the outbreak of COVID-19, with a cumulative repo rate cut of 135 basis points between February 2019 and the onset of the pandemic.