Bank moratorium was a temporary solution: RBI governor Shaktikanta Das

Das said the central bank had not put out key growth numbers owing to the Covid uncertainty
Bank moratorium was a temporary solution to the lockdown-related stress but the resolution framework was a permanent framework, Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das has said in an interview to CNBC TV18.


Justifying the decision to go in for moratorium which ends on August 31, Das said the RBI formed the “Covid-19-related resolution framework” after taking into consideration financial health of banks as well as depositors. Businesses, he said, were in a lot of stress and if they failed, it would have led to financial instability.


Das said the central bank had not put out key growth numbers owing to the Covid uncertainty.


“The RBI’s numbers should be dependable. We are not playing safe; let us have some clarity on the present situation. Let the Covid curve flatten, and inflation and GDP numbers can be given. As we don’t have that clarity yet, we are giving just a directional guide,” he said, adding, “Fundamentals of the Indian economy are very solid and it will revive as and when there is certainty on the curve stabilising.”


At the same time, “The RBI stands battle-ready. All conventional and unconventional instruments, along with some new ones, are there on our table”. 


Even as transmission of rate cuts has been commendable in the past — both in old and fresh loans — “There will be intervention when needed, though when and what, I can’t say,” he added. 


On the rise in bond yields, Das highlighted that the RBI was the government’s debt manager and was committed to conduct borrowing in a non-disruptive manner.


On corporate governance among boards and tenure of chief executive officers (CEOs) banks, Das said that a short tenure was not necessarily detrimental as some banks had failed despite their CEOs’ long tenure.


The RBI had on June 11 released a discussion paper on governance in commercial banks wherein it proposed tenure limits for promoters of banks to hold CEO or whole-time director positions. According to the paper, a major shareholder/promoter may continue as CEO or whole-time director for 10 years. After the term ends, the individual must transition.  "However, a CEO or whole-time director of a bank, who is not a promoter or major shareholder, may hold office for 15 consecutive years," the paper stated.


According to the governor, whatever happens in the market doesn’t escape the regulator, but the RBI takes action if the market behaviour in any segment hits the financial stability.


Working on stability concerns, the RBI opened a Rs 50,000 crore liquidity window for mutual funds when Franklin Templeton faced redemption issues in six of its schemes. This in turn stabilised the mutual fund industry, the governor said.


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