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Reserve Bank of India Press Conference – Financial relief measures amid Covid-19 pandemic

The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) Governor Shri. Shaktikanta Das, during the press conference today, announced various measures to increase liquidity and ease banking regulations during the challenging times and to safeguard country’s economy from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic related lockdowns.

The key highlights of the announcements made are as follows:

  • The Monetary Policy Committee reduced the repo rate by 75 basis points and reverse repo rate by 90 basis points.
  • The RBI will conduct auctions of Targeted longer-term refinancing operations of up to three-year tenor of appropriate sizes for a total amount up to Rs. 1 lakh crore at a floating rate, linked to policy repo rate.
  • The cash reserve ratio of all banks to be reduced by 100 basis points to 3 percent beginning March 28th, 2020 for a year. This cut down will release liquidity of Rs. 1,37,000 crores across the banking system.
  • The Marginal Standing Facility (MSR) raised from 2 percent of Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) to 3 percent with immediate effect and shall be applicable up to June 30th, 2020.
  • The RBI Governor declared that the above liquidity measures will inject liquidity of Rs 3.74 lakh crores to the Indian economic system.
  • All lending institutions and banks are being permitted to allow a moratorium of three months on repayment of installments for term loans outstanding as on March 1st, 2020.
  • The lending institutions also permitted to allow deferment of three months on payment of interest w.r.t all such working capital facilities outstanding as of March 1st, 2020.
  • The RBI Governor stated that moratorium on term loans and deferment of interest payment will not result in asset classification downgrade.
  • Further deferring implementation of last tranche of 0.625 percent of capital conservation buffer to September 30th, 2020.
  • The banks in India that operate IFSC banking units allowed to participate in offshore INR NDF market w.e.f. June 1st, 2020.
The RBI Governor further stated that the projections of growth and inflation as the outlook are heavily dependent on the spread and containment of the virus. He further said that RBI will continue to remain vigilant and take whatever steps needed to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 and maintain financial stability in the country.