Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das said there would be no changes to last year’s RBI circular that tightened bad loan recognition rules, frustrating companies and others that have been seeking a relaxation on grounds that they are too stringent.
The Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the circular.
“There is no proposal on the table seeking modifications to the February 12 circular,” said Das, dispelling speculation that the government had suggested making rules easier for companies.
The circular directed lenders to refer any loan account over Rs 2,000 crore under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) if it is not resolved within 180 days of default. It also underscored IBC’s status as the cornerstone of the bad loan resolution framework, scrapping all previous mechanisms. The circular imposed a one-day default rule.
Banks have to treat a company as a defaulter even if it misses repayment schedule by a day.
This is said to have rattled even the most influential borrowers and reportedly annoyed many within the government, leading to a clamour that it be diluted.
The governor’s comment on Thursday, during his press conference after the monetary policy announcement, put to rest speculation over the matter. The circular had been one of the key measures the regulator took under the governorship of Das’ predecessor, Urjit Patel, who quit before his term was over amid a dispute with the government over various issues, including autonomy.
The RBI notification, though, has been legally challenged, with several borrowers — especially the Association of Power Producers — terming it impractical and too harsh. They have sought more time to resolve unpaid loans.
“RBI is fighting the NPA (non-performing assets) menace with credibility. It is assuring that the central bank is not thinking of dilution despite pressure. This circular is expected to drive better credit behaviour,” said MR Umarji, a legal expert on banking.