RISING NPAS IN INDIAN BANKING SECTOR: CAUSES, EFFECTS, IMPLICATIONS AND REMEDIES

By Charudutt Sehgal

Introduction

The economic progress of a nation and development of its banking sector is invariably interrelated. The banking sector is an indispensable financial service sector supporting development plans through channelizing funds for productive purpose, intermediating flow of funds from surplus to deficit units and supporting financial and economic policies of the government. Banks serve social objectives through priority sector lending, mass branch networks and employment generation. Maintaining asset quality and profitability are critical for banks survival and growth. In the process of achieving such objectives, a major roadblock to banking sector is prevalence of Non-Performing Assets (NPA). In India, the problem of bad debts was not taken seriously until it was mandated by the Narasimham and Verma committee. The committee mandated the curbing of the particular issue because NPA direct towards credit risk that bank faces and its efficiency in allocating resources.

The aim of this research paper is to study the current trend of NPAs in Indian scheduled banks (up to 2013-14 only). The paper further examines the critical reasons behind the rise of this issue, its impact on Indian banking sector and Indian economy. In order to understand the criticality of the problem an effort has been made to study what impact NPAs have on ease of doing business rankings. Furthermore, the paper concludes with some of the important measures which if implemented then can improve the current scenario of NPAs in SCBs.

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EFFECTS OF DEMONETIZATION ON INDIAN AGRARIAN ECONOMY

By Pushkar Moni and Purvee Khandelwal

Introduction

The currency (notes) is the most liquid legal tender issued by the RBI which can be used to extinguish a public or private debt. The Indian economy, until 8th November 2016 had an estimated ₹14.18 trillion worth of currency notes in circulation, making India predominantly a cash-based economy. The Indian agrarian economy which is also primarily cash based, and is highly unorganized, has emerged as a source to route black money, back into the system both in terms of tax exemptions and channelling funds to create legitimate funds [1]. According to the Central Board of Direct Taxes, only 3.81% of the total Indian population pay income taxes and it is suspected that enormous sums of money are tied up in illegal transactions that are unaccounted for. These illegal transactions not only form a parallel economy in the country but also distort the actual Indian economy. As a countermeasure, the Government of India hitherto referred to as GoI, enacted to demonetize (strip a currency of its legal status) its currency notes of 500 and 1000 denomination. These denominations accounted for 86% [2] of the total currency in circulation. This paper intends to highlight the effects of demonetization on the Indian agrarian economy.

Impact of Cash Crunch on Agriculture

Agriculture is primarily a cash based sector with large capital input. This sector contributes about 15% to the Indian GDP and employs about 49% of the total workforce. The real growth rate of the sector is reported to be 1.3% [3]. This low growth rate is usually attributed to the droughts experienced in the past two years.

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Budget Series 2017-18 #7 Impact on IT Sector

By Anil Shankar & Divya Ramesh

The famous Greek scholar Heraclitus one said: “change is the only constant”. There was a perception that nothing can hinder the phenomenal growth of Indian IT sector. But for the past couple of years, that image has taken a dent due to various factors. In this article, we analyze major factors that have affected the Indian IT sector and the effects of the same.

BREXIT

The volatility in the British pound was one of the major points of concern which the IT sector had post BREXIT. Also, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the structure of the financial and banking sector. One of the early victims of BREXIT was the deal between Infosys and RBS to float a new standalone bank called Williams and Glyn. The move to abandon this project forced Infosys to shift nearly 3000 of its employees to other projects. It also affected their bottom line and also had to reduce the revenue guidance subsequently. On the other hand, if structural changes are to be carried out on financial sectors, then this might actually result in more contracts.

TRUMP PRESIDENCY

The uncertainty revolving around the Trump presidency is one of the main factors which might have a detrimental effect on the Indian IT sector. More than 60% of the revenues that the IT industry generates comes from the US. Recently, a bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives which seeks to double the minimum wage of H1B visa holders to $130,000. If passed, the Indian IT companies would be forced to hire more Americans than Indians and thereby affecting their bottom line.

During the campaign, Trump made his intentions clear about the possible repeal of Obamacare. Since healthcare has been one of the areas which have been growing fast for the IT sector, implementation of such actions would have a negative impact. Also, Trump has plans to cut back on regulations and compliance related spending by Banking and Financial services sector. Since about 40% of the revenue is generated from these clients, lowering the regulations would have an adverse impact on the revenue generated.

BUDGET 2017

From the graph below, we can observe that 35% of the domestic revenue that the IT sector makes comes from government projects followed by the banking and financial sector. With the Budget 2017 containing schemes to digitalize India, the domestic IT sector would witness a lot of government opportunities knocking on its door. The Government’s motive to weed out corruption through digitalization has been shown in the Budget 2017 with a push to a digital economy. Budget 2017 has acted as a foundation for India to technologically transform and evolve into a digital economy.

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Fig 1: Shows the contribution of various sectors to the domestic IT Revenue

The e-governance portal’s traffic has been on the rise from 2060 million transactions in 2013 to 4940 million transactions in 2016 which is a 140 % increase. TCS, Infosys, Mind-tree and few other players in this sector have been handling government projects like automation of immigration system by TCS, application development and maintenance of unique identification authority of India by Mindtree and implementation of GSTN by Infosys which is crucial for the implementation of GST which was also a highlight of the Union Budget 2017. The programs like:

  1. BHIM app promotional schemes
  2. Aadhaar pay app for cashless transactions
  3. Political parties entitled to receive donations through digital mode
  4. Aadhaar based smart cards to monitor health for senior citizens
  5. High-speed internet for gram panchayats

have provided a platform full of government IT projects.

AUTOMATION

There has been a big emphasis on automation by the IT industry in the recent past. The idea is to improve efficiency and productivity of firms. Automation can lead to a smaller workforce and more revenues. Although there is a point of debate as to whether this move is good for the economy in the entirety, big companies are going all out to automate their products. Some companies build their own products to realize this goal while others take the route of inorganic expansion to acquire these capabilities. For example, Infosys acquired US based automation technology company Panaya to bring about automation in several of Infosys’s service lines. Automation, hence, would play a big role in the IT companies profitability in the coming future.

Which sectors are expected to get a boost from the government in the Budget?

Should NBFCs be regulated in the same way as Banks in India?

By Nayan Saraf

Indian banking sector has played a crucial role in developing the Indian economy, but if there is one segment, which would significantly make a big difference in coming years, it would be the Non-banking financial services sector. The total asset base for NBFC’s stood at more than Rs. 14.5 Lac Crore and the profit of Rs. 30,000 Cr. in the year 2015 with a CAGR of about 13% over last 3 years. This enormous growth of NBFC segment has resulted in more regulations from RBI which in effect have opened the debate whether NBFCs should be regulated in the same way as banks or not.

Over the years, RBI has changed its stance on NBFC from no regulations to over regulations. This over regulation has come into the picture in recent years after the global financial crisis where the fall of systematically important FI, Lehman Brother, resulted in systematic risk across the financial world. But many economists have argued that these over regulations are nothing but overly cautious measures by the RBI which are hampering the growth of the NBFC segment.

One reasonable argument that goes in the favour of lesser regulations for NBFCs is that unlike banks they don’t have any unsophisticated depositors. The bank’s depositors are unsophisticated as they can withdraw money from the bank at any time and the bank is liable for that. Even for fixed deposits, the principal is protected in the case of premature withdrawal. Hence, banks run the risk of having ‘Run on the bank’. On the other hand, NBFC’s do not have unsophisticated depositors as they raise money by issuing bonds and promoter’s contribution. Hence, NBFCs do not run the risk of having ‘Run on the bank’.

Second argument that goes in favour of lesser regulations for NBFCs is the low risk of asset liability mismatch. Since, NBFCs lend money which was raised through bonds and promoter’s contribution rather than depositors’ money (as they cannot accept deposits); there’s a very little chance of having asset liability mismatch. In their balance sheet, the liability would be due only on maturity. Hence they can easily manage the asset liability mismatch. On the other hand, banks that lend depositors’ money, run a higher risk of asset liability mismatch as in their balance sheet the liability can be due at any time.

These two arguments question the importance of stringent regulations on NBFCs by RBI. When NBFCs are different from banks, then why should they have the same stringent regulations? NBFCs should be more risk seeking in nature for the growth of Indian economy.