Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a brainstorming session with financial sector regulators and discussed various measures to revive the economy hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. According to sources, the meeting discussed various steps that regulators, especially the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), can take to push economic growth staring at the risk of contraction. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi, Irdai chairman S C Khuntia and PFRDA chairman Supratim Bandyopadhyay were in the meeting, along with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, among others.
Besides them, senior government officials attended the virtual three-hour long meeting. The economy is expected to contract by 4.5% during the current fiscal, as per the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) latest projection. The meeting also discussed preparedness to deal with the post-COVID world and regulatory measures to help achieve the objective of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
It is to be noted that the RBI since February took various measures, including liquidity infusion and moderation of interest rate to record low in its bid to maintain financial stability and support growth. Nearly 40% of Rs 20.97 lakh crore economic package comprised of several liquidity measures undertaken by the RBI.
The RBI eased the monetary policy, reduced reserve requirements and introduced liquidity in the economy to the extent of almost 3.9% of GDP. Besides, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority also took measures to provide relief to industry and individuals. The challenges before the regulators during the post-COVID world also came up for discussion, the sources said.
The meeting also came at a time when the government is considering another round of fiscal stimulus to boost demand in the economy.
The IMF on Wednesday said India has space for both fiscal and monetary measures, but it needs to quickly contain the spread of COVID-19 to make economic recovery sustainable. IMF also said while monetising fiscal deficit may be inevitable, India should chart a credible fiscal consolidation roadmap to ensure regulatory independence.
Emphasising on the crucial role of the financial sector in supporting the economy, Modi on Wednesday asked bankers to relook at their practices to ensure stable credit growth and not to turn down bankable proposals on apprehensions of prospective bad loans.
During a three-hour long virtual meeting with CEOs of large public and private sector banks along with heads of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), the Prime Minister assured them that the government is ready to take all steps to support the financial sector.
Modi exhorted bankers to motivate small entrepreneurs, self-help groups and farmers to use institutional credit in order to grow.
"Each bank needs to introspect and take a relook at its practices to ensure stable credit growth. Banks should not treat all proposals with the same yardstick and need to distinguish and identify bankable proposals and to ensure that these don't suffer in the name of past NPAs," he had said.