Relieving the Pain
India Legal|May 24, 2021
With the second wave of Covid-19 putting further stress on the economy, the Reserve Bank of India has launched measures to enhance fund flow for the healthcare sector and inject more liquidity into the system. Will they help?
Shivanand Pandit

THE second wave of the deadly epidemic in India has distorted the economic outlook. Considering the trauma placed by the pandemic on the economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has unpacked numerous measures to enhance fund flow to the healthcare sector and inject more liquidity into the system, apart from offering one more window to individual borrowers and small firms for loan restructuring.

Industry experts hailed the move to support borrowers, given the current ambiguity. The president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Uday Kotak said: “The RBI governor has taken the financial sector battle against Covid 2.0 head-on with a clear focus on protecting lives and livelihoods. CII welcomes the support to individual and MSME borrowers and ease of banking through digital means.”

To ramp up Covid-19-linked health care infrastructure and services, the RBI decided to increase the provision of instant liquidity by unlocking an on-tap liquidity window of Rs 50,000 crore till March 31, 2022. According to the scheme, banks can offer fresh loans to a wide variety of firms embracing vaccine manufacturers, importers and suppliers of vaccines and priority medical devices, hospitals and dispensaries, pathology labs, manufactures and suppliers of oxygen and ventilators, importers of vaccines and Covid-19-related drugs, logistics firms and also patients for treatment. These advances will continue to be categorised under primacy sector till repayment or maturity, whichever is earlier. Banks may deliver these loans to borrowers directly or through intermediate financial firms regulated by the RBI.

Banks have to create a Covid-19 loan book under the arrangement and through an additional incentive such banks will be qualified to park their excess liquidity up to the volume of the Covid-19 loan book with the RBI under the reverse repo frame at a rate which is 25 bps lesser than the repo rate. The central bank also declared that under G-SAP 1.0, the second purchase of G-SEC for Rs 35,000 crore will be done on May 20, 2021.

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