oppn parties CRR, RBI and Demonetization

News Snippets

  • FIH Pro League hockey: Indian men beat Argentina 5-4 while women lose to same opponents by 0-5
  • World Cup Stage II archery: Indian women's team enters final. Men's team eliminated
  • Malaysia Masters badminton: P V Sindhu enters second round
  • IPL: RR beat RCB to get another shot in Qualifier 2. RCB out of IPL
  • Referring to sandeshkhali, PM Modi says TMC blaming women to save its goons. TMC asks why Modi was silent for 15 days since the sting videos came out
  • A teenager, who was seen voting eight times for the BJP in a viral video, was arrested after Rahul gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav shared the video on their social media pages
  • The minor son of a builder in Pune, driving a Porsche, runs over two techies on a motorbike. He was arrested but granted bail with conditions by the Juvenile Board
  • PM Modi says action against the corrupt will intensify after June 4 when the NDA returns for the third term
  • Buying of wheat likely to corss 2023 mark but may miss target set for 2024
  • Arvind Kejriwal says BJP has plans to lock AAP offices and freeze the bank accounts of the party
  • Sharad pawar says PM Modi has lost confidence, MVA will win 50% seats in Maharashtra
  • FP|Is offloaded Rs 28200cr in equities in May
  • Former SBI chariman Rajnish Kumar and former Infosys CEO Mohandas Pai will step down from Buju's advisory council
  • Government to tighten norms to ensure better service from telcos
  • Banking sector net profit crosses Rs 3L cr for the first time in FY24
IPL playoffs: RR beat RCB by 4 wickets to end their dream run in the IPL. RR will meet SRH to decide the second finalist. KKR has already reached the final.
oppn parties
CRR, RBI and Demonetization

By Ashwini Agarwal
First publised on 2016-11-27 13:35:47

The RBI has instructed all banks to keep 100 percent of the cash deposits they have received since September 16 till November 11 in Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) with it. Now CRR is a non-interest bearing deposit which the banks maintain with the apex bank. Banks, on the other hand, are paying 4 to 6 percent interest to savings bank depositors. Hence, banks will be losing out to that extent.

CRR is an instrument of setting liquidity in the financial market. The RBI uses it alternately to either flush out, or pump in, money in the banking system. Since banks can lend on the back of funds available with them, the RBI, by tweaking the CRR norms, decides how much they can lend. Normally, this figure remains between 4 to 7%. It is currently at 4%. But since there has been a spurt in bank deposits post demonetization and excess liquidity in the banking system can lead to inflationary pressures, the RBI has taken this surprisingly extreme step.

Two things need to be stated here. Since demonetization, limits have been set for people to withdraw their own money from their bank accounts. One can only withdraw a cumulative Rs 25000 from savings and Rs 50000 from current accounts in a week (and the week here means clear 7 days and not Saturday of the preceding week and Monday of the following). If withdrawal limits are in place, even if banks lend money to people, how are they going to use it? The only way it can be used is if loans are taken for white goods, automobiles or homes and the like, where cheque payments are accepted. So is the government trying to stifle that market? Common sense would permit vigorous lending by banks in these depressed times for business. That would improve business sentiment considerably.

Secondly, this is the right time for the banks to earn some money. Since they are flush with funds, they can lend in sectors that are less risky, for instance home and automobile or to borrowers with good ratings in business and industry. There are reports of property prices crashing. If people can get bargain deals for properties and banks lend them money, a lot of deals can now be struck. This will liquidate part of the huge unsold inventory in the real estate sector and will have immediate effect on all sectors related to it.

Hence, the RBI decision is baffling, to say the least. It could have raised the ratio to 6 or even 10 percent to flush out some cash, but a 100% CRR is regressive. Add to it the additional burden on banks of paying interest on savings bank deposits without getting any from the RBI and the trouble for banks is multiplied. Although the RBI has clarified that it is just a temporary measure, having worked long hours to implement demonetization – with employees facing stress and much more – bankers would not be happy with such a restrictive fiat from the apex bank.