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Not willing to relax norms, RBI opts out of panel on stressed power assets

According to sources, no RBI representative turned up for the first and second meeting of the panel held on August 31 and September 14

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

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The Reserve has refused to be part of a high-level committee headed by the which was constituted to resolve stress in the power sector as it is not willing to relax norms to deal with bad loans, according to a source.

"The has shown its unwillingness to attend the meeting of the empowered committee to resolve stress in power sector. Their representatives did not attended first and second meeting of the panel held on August 31 and September 14," the source said.

"The central has given its own reasons for its refusal to attend meetings of the committee. has made its stand clear in courts that they would not relax the new framework to resolve bad loans. Moreover, is not ready to relax norms for setting up an for warehousing stressed projects to prevent distress sale," the source added.

The RBI has maintained its stand in various courts, including the Supreme Court, and the matter is still sub-judice.

Ahead of the first meeting of the empowered committee on August 31, 2018, R K Singh had told that the RBI was invited to attend the meeting of the high-level panel.

However, no turned up. Similarly, no was present in the second meeting of the committee held on September 14, 2018.

The panel was constituted by the government, with representatives from the ministries of railways, finance, power and coal, as well as the lenders having major exposure to the power sector on July 29, 2018 to resolve the stress and revive such assets.

Earlier, the Reserve had turned down the Power Ministry's request to give certain concessions for setting up of an (ARC) for warehousing stressed assets to prevent distress sale of these plants.

The government wanted RBI to relax the norm of making upfront payment of 15 per cent of the value of an asset to lenders by the ARC and upfront valuation of the asset.

The issue of stressed assets in the power sector became more vicious after the did not give any reprieve to these plants from RBI's new framework for resolving bad loans, issued on February 12, 2018.

The RBI framework provided for strict timeline for resolution of these bad loans where debt is Rs 20 billion or more. It mandates starting insolvency proceedings in case no resolution plan is provided by the lenders within 180 days of default.

Setting up an ARC is a legal option available to avoid insolvency proceedings for these

A Parliamentary panel had earlier recommended new framework for resolution of stressed assets in the power sector, saying RBI's framework "addresses only financial issues, ignoring the whole range of vital issues of electricity sector".

First Published: Sun, September 16 2018. 13:00 IST