RBI's Rs 1.76 lakh crore 'gift'

Surplus reserves from central bank will help government as it battles slowdown

Salil Panchal
Published: Sep 9, 2019 03:49:26 PM IST
Updated: Sep 30, 2019 12:01:17 PM IST

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

RBI's Rs 1.76 lakh crore 'gift'RBI governor, Shaktikanta Das
Image: Amit Verma

Based on the recommendations of the Bimal Jalan committee, the government will receive a ‘gift’ of ₹1.76 lakh crore from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Former RBI governors Raghuran Rajan and Urjit Patel feel this would compromise the central bank’s ratings and increase its borrowing cost. The RBI transfers surplus each year, but it is from that year’s profit. This time, it is the accumulated reserve. 

The latest surplus reserve comprises ₹123,414 crore for 2018-19 and ₹52,637 crore of excess provisions. This is over 250 percent above the ₹50,000 crore transferred in two tranches last year.

"The RBI’s surplus money is fungible. Though ₹1.76 lakh crore appears to be large, only ₹58,000 crore is the surplus,” says Soumyajit Niyogi, associate director, India Ratings and Research.

HDFC Securities’ research analyst Himanshu Parmar says, “At a time when the economy is gripped by a fear of slowdown, such a transfer will provide some relief to the government. At the same time it seems unlikely that the amount would be used only to support fiscal stimulus measures.”

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