There seems to be a communication lapse between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the finance ministry on a specific matter of the scope of the oversight committee (OC). While the central bank had allowed the OC to assess loan recasts, even other than those under the sustainable structuring of stressed assets (S4A), the finance ministry has not acknowledged this. Answering a Lok Sabha question on January 5, on whether the government plans to expand the ambit of the OC to certify other methods of debt restructuring as well, minister of state for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla said the OC has been brought under the aegis of RBI, and is currently mandated to review cases being restructured under the S4A. However, he added that “RBI has apprised that no decision has been taken to expand the ambit of the OC”.
Meanwhile, in a press release on June 22, 2017, RBI had said it reconstituted the OC and named Pradeep Kumar, Janki Ballabh, MBN Rao, YM Deosthalee and S Raman as members. It has also said the reconstituted OC will work with an expanded mandate to review, in addition to cases being restructured under the S4A, resolution of other cases where the aggregate exposure of the banking
sector to the borrowing entity is greater than Rs 500 crore. Emails sent to RBI and the finance ministry remained unanswered till the time of going to press. Formed by the IBA in consultation with RBI, the OC was a two-member committee which looked into loans under the S4A recast scheme. However, lenders had sought the expansion of the OC’s ambit to include other methods of recast like the ones through a joint lenders’ forum (JLF) or a deep restructuring.
The S4A scheme has been viewed as an improvement over the strategic debt restructuring (SDR) plan, since the promoters remain with the company, unlike in an SDR, which envisages bringing in a new set of promoters. The S4A scheme is also more lenient, with bankers being allowed to take an effective haircut of up to 50%. The scheme, however, does not permit changes in the terms of either the moratorium or payments of principal or interest. Banks are permitted to convert the ‘unsustainable’ part of the debt into equity or redeemable cumulative optionally convertible preference shares (RCOCPS). Moreover, lenders need to have provided for at least 20% of the total loans.