Performance of banking system improved as NPA ratios declined: Economic Survey







The performance of banking system improved as non-performing asset (NPA) ratios declined and credit growth accelerated, says the Economic Survey 2018-19 report which Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

“Eco-system for insolvency and bankruptcy getting systematically built out, leading to recovery and resolution of a significant amount of distressed assets,” says the report, adding that the monetary policy witnessed a U-turn over the last year.

“The benchmark policy rate was first hiked by 50 basis points (bps) and later reduced by 75 bps due to weaker than anticipated inflation, growth slowdown, and softer international monetary conditions. Liquidity conditions, however, have remained systematically tight since September 2018,” says the report.

However, financial flows to the economy remained constrained because of a decline in the amount of equity finance raised from capital markets and stress in Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) Sector. The eco-system for insolvency and bankruptcy is getting systematically built out. It has already led to recovery and resolution of a significant amount of distressed assets as well as palpably improved business culture.

The Economic Survey states that during 2018-19, the growth rate of monetary aggregates reverted to their long term trend. The currency in circulation increased by 22.6 per cent in the last financial year. Increase in net RBI credit was mainly from the recourse to open market operations undertaken during the year.

“Deposits with the banking system, both demand and time, recorded acceleration in their growth, leading to an increase in aggregate deposits by 9.6 per cent in 2018-19,” says the report.

On the issue of liquidity, the economic survey states that the liquidity situation on average moved in the deficit zone in the last two quarters of 2018-19 as well as in the first quarter of 2019-20. The tight liquidity has shown up in interest rates as well.

According to the Economic Survey, there were three key factors leading to liquidity tightening. The growth of bank credit has improved in last two quarters of 2018-19. However, growth in bank deposits remained tepid. The growth in currency in circulation also accelerated.

Most significantly the RBI had to draw down its foreign reserves in excess of $ 32 billion in 2018-19 to smoothen exchange rate volatility. The RBI responded to solve this issue by infusing liquidity through means.

The Survey says that the performance of the banking sector, public sector banks in particular, improved in 2018-19. The gross NPA ratio of scheduled commercial banks decreased from 11.5 per cent to10.1 per cent between March 2018 and December 2018.

Growth in Non-food Bank Credit (NFC), which remained sluggish in the last few years, showed improvement in 2018-19. Bank credit to large Industry and services segments were the main drivers of overall NFC growth in 2018-19. However, the pace of credit growth has moderated in the last few months.

Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) experienced difficult times in the aftermath of the ratings downgrades and default of IL&FS Group. As NBFCs faced severe liquidity crunch, the government moved in quickly and took immediate measures to ring-fence the problem and limit contagion. Squeeze in the flow of resources to NBFCs has impacted the lending capacity of the sector in recent quarters.

The Economic Survey states that resource mobilization through the issuance of debt public issue rose quite significantly during 2018-19 as compared to the previous year. However, there was a significant decrease in resource mobilization through public issue and rights issue of equity. During 2018-19, Indian Corporates preferred private placement route to gear up capital requirements.

The cumulative net assets under management of all mutual funds increased by11.4 per cent to Rs 23,79,584 crore. There was a net outflow of Rs. 5,499 crore by Foreign Portfolio Investors in 2018-19. During fiscal 2017-18 the gross direct premium of General Insurers (within India) was Rs 1,50,660 crore registering 17.6 per cent annual growth.

The Economic Survey states that the ecosystem for insolvency and bankruptcy is getting systematically built out with recovery and resolution of a significant amount of distressed assets as well as palpably improved business culture.

Till March 31, 2019, the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process yielded a resolution of 94 cases which has resulted in the settlement of claims of Rs 1,73,359 crore. Moreover, as on 28 February 2019, 6079 cases involving a total amount of Rs 2.84 lakh crore has been withdrawn before admission under provisions of IBC.

Further, as per RBI reports, Rs 50,000 crore has been received by banks from previously non-performing accounts. RBI also reports that additional Rs 50,000 crore has been “upgraded” from non-standard to standard assets. “All these show behavioural change for the wider lending ecosystem even before entering the IBC process,” says the report.

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