Reserve Bank of India Current Affairs - 2020

India’s Forex reserves rise to a record high of $426.42 billion

As per the data revealed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserve rose to a life-time high of $426.42 billion (in week to 21 June 2019) after it surged by $4.215 billion boosted by higher foreign portfolio investments (FPI) and a stable rupee.

Key Highlights

Background: Earlier, the Forex reserves had scaled a record high of $426.028 billion in week to 13 April 2018. Since then it had been fluctuating and had even fallen by more than $35 billion, as monetary authority had been heavily intervening in market to salvage Indian rupee, which was worst performing currency in Asia throughout 2018.In previous reporting week (prior to June 21), reserves had declined by $ 1.358 billion to $422.2 billion.

India’s reserve position with International Monetary Fund (IMF) also rose by $9.6 million to $3.354 billion.

Reason: This rise in reserves was on account of increase in foreign currency asset, which is a major component of overall foreign exchange reserves of the country.

Foreign Currency Assets: expressed in terms of dollars includes effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units such as British pound, the Japanese yen and euro held in forex reserves. In reporting week of 21 June, foreign currency assets increased by $4.202 billion to $398.649 billion.

Gold Reserves: remained unchanged at $22.958 billion.

Special Drawing Rights (SDR): with IMF increased by $4.2 million to $1.453 billion. India’s reserve position with the fund also rose by $9.6 million to $3.354 billion..

Significance: According to market experts, with $427 billion, reserves can take care of imports for almost 10 months.

About Foreign Reserves

It is the reserve assets held by a central bank of country in foreign currencies which can act as a buffer and can help economy in challenging times. It can also be used to back liabilities on their own issued currency and to influence monetary policy of the country. Almost all countries across the world, regardless of size of their economy, hold significant forex reserves.

Importance: Forex reserves are one of the key revenue earning sources for a country central bank, which invests money in foreign government bonds and also with IMF and other secure investment class.

India’s FOREX Reserves includes components:

  1. Foreign currency assets (FCAs)- It constitutes largest component of Indian Forex Reserves and are expressed in US dollar terms.
  2. Gold Reserves
  3. Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)
  4. Reserve Tranche Position (RTP) of RBI with International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Higher forex reserves are must for a fast-growing economy such as India with higher imports and lower export earnings.

Wilful Defaulters in Nationalised Banks up by 60% in 5 years: Govt

As per a written reply given by Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha, the number of wilful defaulters in nationalised banks has increased by more than 60% to 8,582 in five years to March 2019.

Key Highlights

The Finance Minister provided the written reply in Lok Sabha to a question asked that whether the cases of willful defaulters of banks have increased during the past five years.

Wilful Defaulter is an entity or a person that has not paid the loan taken back to the bank despite having the ability to repay it. Wilful defaulters are acted against comprehensively.

Data Provided by Government:

By end of fiscal year 2014-15, the figure of wilful defaulters in nationalised banks stood at 5,349, and since then the number of such borrowers has been consistently rising- with being 6,575 (2015-16), 7,079 (2016-17), 7,535 (2017-18) and now increased to 8,582 in 2018-2019 fiscal.

During the last 5 financial years about ₹7,654 crore has been recovered from wilful defaulters’ accounts.

Steps Taken By Government

As per data reported by 17 nationalised banks in India, till 31 March 2019, suits for recovery have been filed in 8,121 cases out of 8,582.

SARFAESI Act: In cases involving secured assets, action under provisions of SARFAESI Act (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002) has been initiated in 6,251 cases.

RBI Instructions: As per the instructions provided by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), wilful defaulters are not sanctioned any additional facilities by banks/financial institutions, their unit is debarred from floating new ventures for 5 year and even criminal proceedings are initiated wherever necessary. In accordance with this FIRs have been registered in 2,915 cases.

SEBI Regulations: Besides, vide Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations, wilful defaulters and companies who has with wilful defaulters as either promoters or directors have been debarred from accessing capital markets to raise funds.

IBC 2016: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 has debarred wilful defaulters from participating in insolvency resolution process.

FEO Act 2018: The government has enacted Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 for effective action against wilful defaulters who flee Indian jurisdiction. It provides for attachment and confiscation of property of fugitive offenders and to disentitle them from defending any civil claim.

PSBs: Government has also advised all Public Sector Banks (PSB) to decide on publishing photographs of all concerned wilful defaulters and to obtain certified copy of passport of promoters/directors and other authorised signatories of companies availing loans of over ₹50 crore. The heads of PSBs have also been empowered to request for issuance of look out circulars (LoC) against wilful defaulters.