Money & Banking

Remain watchful of the evolving situation: RBI head tells bank chiefs

Our Bureau. Mumbai | Updated on April 12, 2021

Bank chiefs advised to take steps to maintain business continuity, sharpen strategies, and raise capital to strengthen balance sheets.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das, on Monday, advised bank chiefs to remain watchful of the evolving situation amid the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

He asked them to continue taking measures proactively for maintaining their business continuity, sharpening business strategies, and raising adequate capital for strengthening balance sheets.

At meetings with the MD and CEOs of public and private sector banks over video conference, Das underscored the importance of credit flows in sustaining the nascent economic recovery. The meetings were also attended by Deputy Governors MK Jain, M Rajeswar Rao and a few other senior officials of the RBI.

The Governor also emphasised the need for banks to maintain close vigil on the payments and other IT systems operated by them, and fortifying those for enhanced efficiency and resilience so as to offer seamless and uninterrupted customer service.

Mini-lockdowns

The aforementioned observations by Das come even as some States have begun imposing lockdowns/ mini-lockdowns to stem the second wave of the pandemic.

Last year, just before the country went into lockdown (from March 25 till May 31), the central bank had created a crack team of 150 officers, staff and service providers for essential services such as currency in circulation, retail and wholesale payment and settlement systems, reserve management, financial markets and liquidity management, financial regulation and supervision, and a host of other services so that the nation may survive Covid-19.

Banks and financial institutions rose to the occasion then, ensuring normal functioning of the financial system. The Governor had praised their efforts.

The other issues that were discussed at today’s meeting include the progress in the implementation of Covid Resolution Framework; outlook on stressed assets; capital augmentation; liquidity scenario and monetary transmission; credit flows to different sectors, including to stressed sectors, MSMEs, retail.

Vaccination programme

In a statement last week, Das observed that prospects for 2021-22 have strengthened with the progress of the vaccination programme.

The recent surge in infections has, however, imparted greater uncertainty to the outlook and needs to be closely watched, especially as localised and regional lockdowns could dampen the recent improvement in demand conditions and delay the return of normalcy, he added.

 

Published on April 12, 2021

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