RBI liberalises norms governing external commercial borrowings for infrastructure creation
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has liberalised norms governing external commercial borrowings (ECBs) for infrastructure creation. The provisions have been reviewed and decision has been taken in consultation with Central Government.
RBI has reduced minimum average maturity required for the ECBs in the infrastructure space raised by eligible borrowers to three years from earlier five years. Additionally, it also has reduced average maturity requirement for mandatory hedging to five years from earlier ten years.
The move comes amid concerns surrounding availability of funds following liquidity squeeze and the difficulties being faced by non-bank lenders, especially those facing asset liability issues due to heavy reliance on short-term funding for long-term assets. This, along with defaults by infra lender IL&FS, has hurt credit markets especially infrastructure financing sector. Central Government has been unequivocal in suggesting remedial measures which will address needs of the economy. It had suggested to include special window for NBFCs, but RBI is not undertaking measures. However, relaxations in ECB norms follow other moves by RBI, including earlier it permission to banks to use credit enhancement to help NBFCs raise medium to long-term funds.