Fourth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2015-16 By Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan, Governor, RBI - Sept 29, 2015 - Full Text

Banking Structure

20. The Reserve Bank has put out for comment draft guidelines for banks on the computation of base rate, based on their marginal cost of funds. Guidelines will be issued by end-November 2015.

21. In March 2015, the Reserve Bank issued a Discussion Paper titled “Large Exposures Framework and Enhancing Credit Supply through Market Mechanism” for stakeholders’ comments. The Discussion Paper focused on the need to encourage alternative sources of funding to bank credit for the corporate sector to finance growth. This would also de-risk the balance sheets of banks. Specifically, the paper proposed ways to encourage large corporates with borrowings from the banking system above a cut-off level to tap the market for their working capital and term loan needs. Based on suggestions received from stakeholders, the Reserve Bank will issue a draft circular by end-December 2015.

22. As a part of its supervisory process, the Reserve Bank assesses compliance by banks with extant prudential norms on income recognition, asset classification and provisioning (IRACP). There have been divergences between banks and the supervisor as regards asset classification and provisioning. In order to bring in greater transparency, better discipline with respect to compliance with IRACP norms as well as to involve other stakeholders, the Reserve Bank will mandate disclosures in the notes to accounts to the financial statements of banks where such divergences exceed a specified threshold. Instructions in this regard are being issued separately.

23. The Union Budget for 2014-15 emphasised the urgent need for convergence of the current Indian accounting standards (IND AS) with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The Reserve Bank has recommended to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs a roadmap for the implementation of IND AS by banks and non-banking financial companies from 2018-19 onwards. The Reserve Bank constituted a Working Group (Chairman: Shri Sudarshan Sen) for its implementation. The Report of the Working Group will be placed on the Reserve Bank’s website by end-October 2015 for public comments.

24. At present, the minimum risk weight applicable on individual housing loans is 50 per cent. With a view to improving “affordability of low cost housing” for economically weaker sections and low income groups and giving a fillip to “Housing for All”, while being cognisant of prudential concerns, it is proposed to reduce the risk weights applicable to lower value but well collateralised individual housing loans. Detailed guidelines are being issued separately.

25. Banks are permitted to hold investments under the HTM category in excess of the limit of 25 per cent of their total investments, provided the excess comprises only SLR securities and the total SLR securities held under the HTM category are not more than 22 per cent of NDTL. The SLR has been reduced to 21.50 per cent of NDTL with effect from February 7, 2015. To align them, it has been decided to bring down the ceiling on SLR securities under HTM from 22 per cent to 21.50 per cent with effect from the fortnight beginning January 9, 2016. Thereafter, both the SLR and the HTM ceiling will be brought down by 0.25 per cent every quarter till March 31, 2017.

26. The Depositor Education and Awareness Fund Scheme, 2014 has been established by transfer of bank deposits and other credit balances that have remained unclaimed for more than 10 years. It envisages grant of financial assistance to applicants selected on the basis of proposals intended to promote depositors’ interests. In response to the press release issued on January 9, 2015, the Reserve Bank received 90 applications for financial assistance. The names of successful applicants will be announced by October 1, 2015. The window for inviting applications for availing financial assistance from the fund shall be re-opened.

27. The report of the High Powered Committee (HPC) on UCBs (Chairman: Shri R. Gandhi) to examine and recommend permissible business lines, appropriate size, conversion of UCBs into commercial banks and licensing of new UCBs was placed on the Reserve Bank’s website on August 20, 2015 for comments and suggestions. Based on the feedback received, the recommendations of the Committee will be considered for implementation during the second half of 2015-16.

28. Cyber security has assumed critical importance across the globe. With the widespread use of new technologies, inter-connectedness and dependency, newer risks, threats and vulnerabilities have emerged. The Reserve Bank is setting up an information technology (IT) subsidiary to assist in monitoring the preparedness of banks and identifying systemic vulnerabilities along with aiding the Reserve Bank in its own cyber initiatives.

29. The Reserve Bank will update all its master regulations, and streamline the required procedure for compliance with the regulations by January 1, 2016. All master regulations will be fully updated and placed online. The Reserve Bank will also work to improve clarity in regulatory communications.

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