LS clears bank Bill sans commodity trade clause
The BJP had earlier taken a firm stand that the new clause allowing banks to trade in commodity futures could not be inserted as the version of the Bill vetted by the standing committee on finance did not have it. The government had contended that the procedural/propriety issue did not arise as the standing committee on consumer affairs had approved the provision last December. Relenting, finance minister P Chidambaram said on Tuesday: “(We are) withdrawing the clause (on commodity futures) in deference to the views expressed by members.”
The minister assured the Opposition that the government would strengthen public sector banks and maintain their public sector character by infusing capital. Despite a marginal rise in NPA levels and some stressed sectors being accorded debt recast packages, Chidambaram asserted that “our banks are well-capitalised” and would be able to perform the higher lending demands for the economy, which has turned the corner. The minister reiterated his promise to infuse Rs 15,000 crore into public sector banks in the current fiscal.
Making a case for merger of some small banks with the big ones he said the country needs “two-three world size banks,” through consolidation.
Chidambaram clarified that while RBI would regulate banking-related activities in the banking sector, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) would have jurisdiction over competition practices in the sector which included merger regulations. “If we exempt
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