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Farm debt waivers not favoured by ex-RBI heads

D Subbarao said bank accounts don't translate to financial inclusion; Bimal Jalan said financial inclusion had to be combined with financial stability

Somesh Jha  |  New Delhi 

Former RBI Governors (L-R) Y.V.Reddy,C.Rangarajan,Bimal Jalan and D.Subbarao at Inclusive Finance India Summit 2017 in new delhi/sanjay.k.sharma
Former RBI Governors (L-R) Y V Reddy, C Rangarajan, Bimal Jalan and D Subbarao at Inclusive Finance India Summit 2017. Photo: Sanjay Sharma

At a discussion on policy, two former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governors were critical of the announcements by some state governments. Y V Reddy, ex-governor, said such decisions would not help the economy. C Rangarajan, another ex-governor, agreed and said it was better to instead give more time to repay. "Loan waiver is not good for economic or credit culture. Every political party in India has given farm loan waivers in some state or the other or at all-India level. It is a political decision but cannot be justified in the longer run," Reddy said, on the sidelines of the Inclusive Finance India Summit. Recent announcements in this regard have been made by the governments of Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka and Maharashtra. "First, waive interest payments during a year of distress.

Second, reschedule the loan, so that get a longer timeframe for repayment. Only if all these things don't succeed should the government think of loan waiver," said Rangarajan. During a panel discussion of former governors on financial inclusion, emphasised that providing of does not translate to He gave the example of Ernakulum district in Kerala, where people still borrow from moneylenders despite achieving 100 per cent a few years earlier. "We do not understand poverty very well. We think poor people want because they do not have any avenue for saving money," Subbarao said. "(But) poor people also want because they want credit. Poor people will come to the banking system for only if we provide them all that they want -- saving, remittance, credit and insurance." Former governor said had to be combined with financial stability. The former governors wanted a diversified model for financial inclusion, instead of a common policy. Rangarajan said there has to be a clear distinction between towards credit and towards deposits. "Achieving the former is far more difficult than the latter," he said. He added that the consolidation of rural banks was a disturbing trend, as "the local character of banks is getting diluted".

First Published: Tue, December 12 2017. 01:56 IST
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