Budget 2020 : Sitharaman unveils reforms in the Banking sector, Balance government holdings in IDBI Bank to be divested

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NewDelhi : With a view towards unlocking flow of capital to the financial sector, the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman has unveiled several reforms across the banking sector, financial markets and infrastructure financing.

While presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 in Parliament today, Sitharaman said, “A clean, reliable and robust financial sector is critical to the economy. In our efforts to achieve the USD 5 trillion economy, the financial architecture should keep evolving and move from strength to strength.”

In order to unlock private capital, Smt. Sitharaman proposed the sale of the balance holding of Government of India in IDBI Bank to private, retail and institutional investors through stock exchange. On the back of bank consolidation and capital infusion of Rs. 3,50,000 crore into Public Sector Banks (PSBs), the Finance Minister asserted that governance reforms would be carried out to make them more competitive, transparent and professional and thereby ensure a robust banking system. A few PSBs would also be encouraged to approach capital market to raise additional capital.

Further, the Minister announced that Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) has been permitted to increase Deposit Insurance coverage to Rs. 5 lakh per depositor from Rs. 1 lakh previously. She emphasized that a robust mechanism is in place to monitor the health of all Scheduled and Commercial Banks, and thereby ensure safety of depositor money.

Cooperative banks and NBFCs are also important constituents of the financial sector to be strengthened through improved governance. With respect to the Cooperative Banks, amendments to the Banking Regulation Act have been proposed to increase professionalism, facilitate access to capital and improve oversight through RBI. Further, limit for NBFCs to be eligible for Debt Recovery Mechanism via SARFAESI Act, 2002, is proposed to be reduced from existing asset size limits of Rs. 500 crore to Rs. 100 crores or loan size from existing Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 50 lakh.

Stressing on the need to strengthen the regulatory role of PFRDAI, the Finance Minister proposed necessary amendments in PFRDAI Act that will also facilitate separation of NPS trust for Government employees from PFRDAI. This would also enable establishment of a Pension Trust by the employees other than Government. Further, the Government proposes to infuse auto-enrolment into Universal Pension Coverage, apart from mechanisms for inter-operability and safe-guarding of accumulated corpus. “I am confident that this will motivate citizens to plan for their old age”, she added.

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