Banking Regulation Act: President likely to promulgate ordinance today

President Pranab Mukherjee is likely to give his approval to an ordinance to amend Banking Regulation Act giving greater powers to RBI, banks against bad loans


President Pranab Mukherjee. The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act for resolution of the non-performing asset (NPA) crisis. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
President Pranab Mukherjee. The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act for resolution of the non-performing asset (NPA) crisis. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee is likely to promulgate on Friday an ordinance giving greater powers to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to tackle mounting bad loans, according to a person in the finance ministry aware of the development.

It is expected that the presidential assent to the ordinance will come by Friday, this person said.

The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act for resolution of the non-performing asset (NPA) crisis.

The amendments to the Act will help in effectively resolving the bad loans problem, finance secretary Ashok Lavasa said on Thursday.

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“It is not possible for me to put down a number on how this (NPAs) will go down, but certainly we feel that these changes will make the system more effective in handling the bad loans,” he said in Delhi.

The secretary further said “we should be able to reach resolution in many of the cases” on the back of professionalism in the banking system and participation of promoters themselves.

Lavasa is confident that the amendments will allow RBI and banks to take effective steps to deal with the toxic assets.

After discussions with stakeholders, the government felt that some changes were necessary in the statute book to take the problem head-on. Lavasa, however, did not disclose the details of the proposed amendments. He is of the view that there is enough appetite in the market to buy stressed assets.

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“We should not judge the capacity that is there in the market because people do have appetite for investment in the Indian market. India is probably one of the best destinations for investment at this point of time,” he asserted.

Lavasa acknowledged that the NPA situation has not worsened in the recent past and there has been a marked improvement in some of the infrastructure sectors like power and road.

The Cabinet’s decision to push for an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act got a thumbs-up from the market as Bank Nifty rallied 1.85% to close at 22,720.10 while broader index surged 0.51% to end the day at 9,359.90 points.

“Banks are in a sweet spot due to a new framework to deal with NPAs and better quarterly results,” said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services.

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