Money & Banking

NITI Aayog’s Rajiv Kumar for more reforms in banking sector

PTI New Delhi | Updated on October 04, 2019 Published on October 04, 2019

Rajiv Kumar, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman   -  Swapan Mahapatra

NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Friday called for further reforms in the banking sector after the recent recapitalisation and mergers, saying banks need autonomy and must work at arm’s length from the government.

Speaking at the India Economic Summit, Kumar said the government must consider tapping the capital markets and raise long-term funds for creating long-term assets through routes such as sovereign bonds and not only look at the banking sector for financing infrastructure development.

“I think that the next focus will have to be on governance reforms in a very major way, governance reforms in the banking sector particularly because that is needed,” Kumar said.

He further said there have been several committees looking into that. “Time has come...along with this round of recapitalisation and mergers, you do make sure that banks are now governed, managed and bank boards etc get the autonomy at arm’s length distance from the government,” Kumar said.

In August, the government decided to merge 10 public sector banks into four with an aim to make global-sized banks. The government had also announced ₹70,000 crore upfront capital infusion into several public sector banks.

Reiterating that he has been a “votary of privatisation of some of the public sector banks,” Kumar said such a step “does make for a better, competitive situation in the economy, in the financial sector”.

Tap capital markets

He, however, said the banking sector alone should not be expected to do the “heavy lifting” to provide funds to finance investments, specially in infrastructure sector, and the government must look at tapping the capital markets.

“We do need the government to tap capital markets, where you can get long-term financing for long-term asset creation you need and this is where you want to attract pension funds etc into government, “Kumar added.

He also said domestic debt to GDP is low at around 54 per cent.

Published on October 04, 2019
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