Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will brief the RBI’s central board on Monday on Budget measures and sources said the upcoming sovereign bonds, NBFC issues and RBI dividend will figure in the discussion at the Central Board meeting.
Though the meeting is taking place under the customary Budget briefing, the discussion will take place on the government’s intent to raise debt overseas in foreign currency. The debt will be anchored by RBI and the groundwork preparation will also be done with consultation with the Central Bank on size, timing and market of the proposed float.
The RBI gives the dividend to government in August usually.
The government, Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said, is targetting second half (September-March) to raise this still to-be-decided amount.
Financial Services Secretary Rajeev Kumar and Expenditure Secretary Girish Chandra Murmu will also attend it.
The Finance Minister and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das meeting will also discuss the NBFC crisis which Sitharaman said had bottomed out but was not over yet and her ministry along with the RBI will continue to monitor the situation not to let it aggravate.
The Budget has opened the lending doors for NBFCs again by the banks and Sitharaman will stress on that to make RBI more alert on the monitoring responsibility.
It announced further opening up of aviation, insurance and media sectors to foreign investment while giving a lifeline to the struggling shadow banks (NBFCs) to boost investment and lending in the economy to the crucial housing finance and auto sectors, key growth indices of the economy.
The Budget has proposed measures to improve NBFCs access to funding by providing a limited backstop for the purchase of their assets. The government will provide a partial guarantee to state banks for the acquisition of up to Rs 1 lakh crore of highly-rated assets from non-bank finance companies.
On Saturday, Sitharaman said: “The assessment and inputs that are coming about NBFCs since it is caused by various factors like liquidity, governance or insolvency, largely it (NBFC Crisis) reached a peak in terms of challenges that they are facing, the problem probably is not over yet but it can only plateau rather than worsen even if you want to put it worsely. The deteriorating situation has reached its bottom now it has bottomed out.”
The RBI has been made regulator of housing finance firms as well, replacing the National Housing Bank.
On surplus transfer from the RBI, the Budget has earmarked Rs 90,000 crore as dividend from the central bank in the current fiscal.
The discussion will be on the tranches in which this amount would be transferred, said the sources. This will be 32 per cent higher from the previous fiscal, when the central bank paid Rs 68,000 crore to the government, including Rs 28,000 crore as interim dividend.
This was the highest receipt from the Reserve Bank in a single financial year, exceeding the Rs 65,896 crore received in 2015-16 and Rs 40,659 crore in 2017-18.
The Reserve Bank follows July-June financial year and usually distributes the dividend in August after annual accounts are finalised.
The government has lowered the fiscal deficit target to 3.3 per cent of the GDP as it is expecting net additional revenue of Rs 6,000 crore over the interim Budget estimates.