New Delhi: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday said any generalised farm loan waiver adversely impacts the credit culture and the behaviour of borrowers, amid various state governments announcing waivers.
The statement assumes significance in view of three newly elected state governments implementing farm loan waivers in their states in pursuance of poll promises.
When asked about his views on loan write-off for farmers by state governments, he said farm loan waiver is related to the fiscal space that a particular state government has.
“Elected governments have the constitutional mandate to take decisions with regard to their finance but every state government, before taking decisions on any kind of farm loan waivers, has to very carefully examine its fiscal space,” he said.
“It's also for the individual governments to examine whether they have the fiscal space to meet the requirements and release the money to the banks immediately. Any generalised kind of write-off obviously has adverse effect on the credit culture and the future credit behaviour of the borrowers,” he said.
About Rs1.47 trillion of agricultural loans are outstanding in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which announced waivers recently.
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In 2017, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab announced to write off unpaid loans. Earlier this year, the coalition government in Karnataka also announced a farm loan waiver.
Asked about phasing out of Rs2,000 notes, Das said the economic affairs department has clarified on the issue and there is nothing more to add to that.
Last week, the government had indicated that printing of Rs2,000 bank notes, introduced after demonetisation in November 2016, has been stopped for now as there is enough stock in circulation.
Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg had said printing of notes is planned as per the projected requirement.
“We have more than adequate notes of Rs2,000 in the system with over 35% of notes by value in circulation being of Rs2,000. There has been no decision regarding 2,000 rupee note production recently,” the secretary had said.
On interim dividend, Das said “as and when the RBI takes any decision on any matter, you will come to know about it.” The government has requested the RBI to give interim dividend as was done in the past. In the previous financial year, the central bank gave Rs10,000 crore as interim dividend to the government.
“Lot of correspondence goes on between the government and the Reserve Bank. A lot of discussions do take place, whether there is an individual letter or not, that is not really relevant. As and when any decision (on interim dividend) is taken the Reserve Bank will not delay in announcing the decision,” he said.
Asked if banks being given a target to come out of the non-performing asset problem, he said there is no such target given by the RBI.
“Reserve Bank takes the final decision on matters which are in its own domain, after considering all the aspects. So, Reserve Bank will listen to everybody. (It) will interact with everybody including the government but the final decision will be taken by the Reserve Bank in an objective manner to the best of its judgement,” he said.