their choice, a key positive in our view, as India remains an urban-centric market. Delays in the approval process and time-bound implementation, frequent issues raised by banks, have been addressed. However, banks would still need to fulfill certain inclusion criteria in under-served areas as a proportion of their expansion in urban areas.
Long-term measures are many, but there are no defined time lines for implementation:
SLR and priority sector.
The RBI will look to reduce the SLR (statutory liquidity ratio) for banks over the long term but in a calibrated manner, noting the role played by banks currently as well as the current state of government finances. The long-term objective would be to shift the ownership of these instruments to long-term asset players like pension funds and insurance companies. A panel, headed by Nachiket Mor will relook at banks’ priority sector lending requirements. While the financial inclusion objective would continue, the panel would suggest requisite changes, if any. The RBI’s final guidelines on PSL (priority sector lending) saw very limited acceptance of recommendations in the draft guidelines issued in February 2012.
Licensing policy. (i) The RBI would look at the possibility of continuous licensing for new banks after due consultation with various stakeholders. (ii) Also, differentiated licensing (small banks/local banks/wholesale banks) or converting large urban co-operative banks into commercial banks would be explored. (iii) Foreign-owned banks would be allowed to convert to wholly owned subsidiaries after addressing a few regulatory bottlenecks. This would allow these banks to operate like any other domestic bank.
Other key long-term measures
Loan impairment. Reduction in bottlenecks in the efficient functioning of Debt Recovery Tribunals and Asset Reconstruction Companies. Creation of infrastructure to share large common exposure across banks. Aadhaar would be used to build individual histories of clients. To address cash-flow requirements of SME borrowers, the RBI would look at establishing an Electronic Bill Factoring Exchange, which would allow borrowers to discount their bills quickly and fairly.
Payments. Introduction of a new bill payment system that facilitates easier payment of day-to-day bills for consumers. Introduce new mobile-payment systems, especially through SMS. Facilitate setting up of “White Label” ATMs. Introduction of