The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday announced a Covid-19 healthcare package of Rs 50,000 crore for vaccine makers, medical equipment suppliers, hospitals and patients in need of funds, as it opened up another round of restructuring of loans for individual and small borrowers for up to two years.
RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, in an unannounced press conference Wednesday morning, announced measures to help the economy during India’s second wave of Covid-19 infections. Loans, which can be given till March 31, 2022, by banks will be classified as priority sector loans for three years or repayment whichever is earlier. The classification comes with a softer loan rate.
Banks can put their surplus liquidity worth the loans they give under the scheme with the RBI, using a special liquidity window earning reverse repo rate plus 40 basis points. This will work as an incentive for banks to expand their loan books, said Das.
Individual borrowers and small businesses with loan outstanding of up to Rs 25 crore, and who did not avail for moratorium or restructuring relief last year, can ask for restructuring of their loans for up to 2 years. The window remains open up to 30 September, and banks will have to do the restructuring within 90 days of getting the request.
Individual borrowers and small businesses that availed the facility last year but banks allowed restructuring of less than two years can now avail the facility and tell banks to increase the residual repayment window to up to two years in total.
The RBI will also have a special long-term repo operation window for small finance banks, whereby the banks can borrow funds up to Rs 10,000 crore at repo rate for deploying for fresh loans SFBs, to be deployed for fresh lending of up to Rs 10 lakh per borrower.
Besides, the RBI extended some measures taken last year for banks and other entities to help during the pandemic.
“The immediate objective is to preserve human life and restore livelihoods through all means possible,” governor Das said in his speech.
“At the RBI, we stand in battle readiness to ensure that financial conditions remain congenial and markets continue to work efficiently. We will work in close co-ordination with the Government to ameliorate the extreme travails that our citizens are undergoing in this hour of distress. We are committed to go unconventional and devise new responses as and when the situation demands,” Das said.
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