Bank PO Descriptive Question: Financial Sector Reforms in Context with Banking in India

Q. What do you understand by Financial Sector Reforms? Elucidate some Financial Sector Reforms in Context with the Banking Industry in India:
Answer:
Indian economy got itself plunged into deep crisis by the end of the eighties and early nineties. The Post Gulf war economic retrains, lack of clear financial planning by previous governments, political instability in the country, lack of fiscal discipline, irregular monsoons, and plethora of external payment obligations were some of the reasons that pushed our country for the first time, close to defaulting on its international commitments. The credit rating for India was rated down and India was unable to borrow from external commercial markets.
Stabilization & Economic Reforms started in June 1991, with the New Government. Finance Minister of that time Dr. Manmohan Singh took some measures which are called New Economic Policy. This New Economic Policy was divided into two programmes one was short term stabilization programme and another was medium to long term structural adjustment programme. The short term stabilization programme was focused around fiscal policy measures and monetary policy measures, social sector reforms. The medium and long term structural adjustment programs included Industrial Policy, Public sector reforms and financial sector reforms.
The financial sector reforms were based upon the recommendation of Narsimham Committee. The main features of these reforms were to unshackle the banking system from excessive government control however without denationalization & to curtail the tendency of the government to rely on credit control measures (Statutory Liquidity ratio and Cash Reserve Ratio) as extra budgetary sources of inexpensive credit.
Now in these last two decades Banking system in India has undergone significant metamorphosis and now there are new tools, new technology, new players in the market, new opportunities and a challenging market.
Some of the important financial sector reforms in the banking industry are as follows:
1. Deregulation of Interest rate regime: Deregulation of Interest rate regime was done with an objective to make the banks achieve efficient resource allocation.
2. Reducing SLR and CRR: the efforts have been done to make both CRR and SLR down. SLR which was at a peak of 38.5 % was brought down to 24% . (Now it has been raise to 25% in the last review of the monetary policy)
3. Constitution of BFS: Board for Financial Supervision was constituted in 1994 with an aim to establish a regulator for banking sector with effective monitoring and supervision.
4. OSMOS: RBI also instituted a offsite Monitoring and surveillance system in 1995.
5. Strengthen the capital base: Capital base of the banks were strengthened by recapitalization, public equity issues and subordinated debt.
6. Introduction of Prudential norms: Prudential norms were introduced and progressively tightened for income recognition, classification of assets, provisioning of bad debts, marking to market of investments.
7. Entry of Private Players: New private sector banks were licensed and branch licensing restrictions were relaxed. FDI in these banks was allowed up to 74%.
8. Operational changes in the credit policy: Several operational reforms were introduced in the realm of credit policy:
9. Abolishing of MPBF: Detailed regulations relating to Maximum Permissible Bank Finance were abolished .
10. Consortium lending: Consortium regulations were relaxed substantially,
11. Convergence with International practices: Regulatory norms for capital adequacy, income recognition, asset classification, provision etc. progresses towards convergence with international best practices.
12. SARFAESI Act 2002: The Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI) empowers Banks / Financial Institutions to recover their non-performing assets without the intervention of the Court. Read Here More about SARFAESI Act 2002 http://www.gktoday.in/2009/08/sarfeesi-act-2002.html
13. Capital Adequacy Ratio: The Committee on Banking Regulations and Supervisory Practices (Basel Committee) had released the guidelines on capital measures and capital standards in July 1988 which were been accepted by Central Banks in various countries including RBI. In India it has been implement­ed by RBI w.e.f. 1.4.92. The minimum CRAR (Capital to Risk-Weighted Assets Ratio) has been kept at 9% for existing banks which is just 1% above the international norms. (For private banks it is 10% )
14. Strength in Disclosure Norms: The disclosure norms have been stregnthed for improving governance and bringing them in alignment with the international norms. Capital adequacy, asset quality, maturity distribution of assets and liabilities, country risk exposure, risks in derivatives etc. disclosures were covered.
15. Risk Management: Risk management systems were issued by RBI in 1999 and guidelines have been released by reserve bank of India on time to time basis.
16. Credit Info: Credit Information bureau (India) Ltd was established in 2000.
17. Banking Ombudsman Scheme: This scheme was notified in 1995 and further revised from time to time. The objective was to provide an efficient system of grievance redressal against banks.
18. Banking Codes and standards Board of India: It was set up in 2006 to ensure comprehensive code of conduct for fair and transparent treatment with customers.

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