RBI measures sufficient, not substantial; Guv doing balancing act: Experts

RBI governor Shaktikanta Das
The Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das on Friday said the central bank will ensure adequate liquidity in the system to ease the financial stress caused due to coronavirus crisis. RBI reduced the reverse repo rate by 25 basis points to 3.75 per cent.

He also said that RBI will begin with giving an additional Rs 50,000 crore through targeted long-term repo operation (TLTRO) to be undertaken in tranches. Besides, he announced a re-financing window of Rs 50,000 crore for financial institutions like Nabard, National Housing Bank and Sidbi.

The banking and finance industry welcomed new measures, but reacted cautiously.

Rajkiran Rai, MD, Union Bank, said that the RBI is only creating a foundation for more such measures in future. "The message is clear that RBI is ready to modify and take measures to support the economy. NPAs will reduce a lot. Loan growth will pick. We expect credit growth. We will definitely see good growth. SMA accounts will get the NPA classification relief," he told news channel CNBC.

Former RBI deputy governor HR Khan, however, said that measures were sufficient but not substantial. "Need clarity on banks lending to NBFCs and MFIs's moratorium eligibility," he said

Dr Pronab Sen, former chief statistician said that RBI governor is walking a tightrope. "We have not heard anything on the way RRB is supposed to be treating the loans that are outstanding. Governor has done what was within his capacity. He is trying to do a balancing act," he told CNBC.

Keiky Mistry, VC & CEO, HDFC, said that the measures by the RBI will ease the liquidity situation quite a bit and the government should focus on sectors that can create jobs. He made an important clarification on CNBC when asked about dividend  announcement. "I believe that the governor deferred dividends, didn't cancel them," he said,

Indian Banks' Association (IBA) Chief Sunil Mehta said that once accounts don’t slip into NPA, bankers will be willing to lend to them and that bankers will now be able to lend to special mention accounts (SMA).

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