The Hindu Editorial (No more leeway) 29 April 2019
No more leeway: on RBI’s reluctance to furnish list of wilful defaulters
The Reserve Bank of India has been given a “last opportunity” by the Supreme Court to stop being in “contempt” of the court’s clear and unambiguous order of December 2015. Ruling on a batch of contempt petitions against the RBI, a two-judge bench directed it to furnish all information relating to inspection reports and other material sought by Right to Information (RTI) petitioners, save material exempted by the court’s earlier order particularly on the grounds that it had a bearing on the security of the state. The bench made it clear that “any further violation shall be viewed seriously”. The banking regulator has repeatedly tried to stonewall multiple requests seeking information ranging from the names of wilful defaulters on bank loans worth hundreds of crores of rupees, to the bank-wise breakup of mark-to-market (MTM) losses and the losses in foreign currency derivatives contract cases. The Central Information Commission too had, in November, directed the then RBI Governor, Urjit Patel, to show cause “why maximum penalty should not be imposed on him” for the central bank’s “defiance” of Supreme Court orders on disclosing the names of wilful loan defaulters. The RBI was ticked off by the CIC for failing to uphold the interest of the public and not fulfilling its statutory duty to depositors, the economy and the banking sector, by privileging individual banks’ interests over its obligation to ensure transparency.
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At a time when the level of bad loans at commercial banks continues to remain worryingly high, worsening their combined capital to risk-weighted assets ratio (CRAR), it is inexcusable that the RBI continues to keep the largest lenders to banks, the depositors, and the public in the dark on the specific loan accounts that are endangering the banking system’s health and viability. The RBI’s latest Financial Stability Report shows that the industry-wide CRAR slid to 13.7% in September 2018, from 13.8% in March 2018, with the ratio at the crucial public sector banks declining more sharply to 11.3%, from 11.7% over the same period. For a banking regulator that never tires of stressing the need for greater accountability from the numerous public sector banks, the RBI’s reluctance to be more transparent is perplexing. Even its latest Disclosure Policy, posted on its website on April 12 after the Division Bench had concluded hearings in the contempt case and reserved judgment, continues to direct its departments to withhold information that was expressly ordered to be shared by the December 2015 order. As the CIC aptly observed last year, the central bank’s intransigence and repeated failure to honour the court’s orders ultimately undermines the very rule of law it seeks to enforce as a banking sector regulator empowered by Parliament.
The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary Wordlist
1) UNAMBIGUOUS (Adj) = Clear, ( सुस्पष्ट )
Synonyms = Explicit, Obvious.
Antonyms = Ambiguous, Indefinite.
2) INSPECTION (Noun) = Examination, ( निरीक्षण )
Synonyms = Analysis, Checkup.
Antonyms = Ignorance, Neglect.
3) DERIVATIVE (Adj) = Borrowed, ( व्युत्पादित )
Synonyms = Offshoot, Outgrowth.
Antonyms = Original, Creative.
4) OBLIGATION (Noun) = Responsibility, ( एहसान )
Synonyms = Agreement, Bond.
Antonyms = Asset, Disagreement.
5) INEXCUSABLE (Adj) = Not Forgivable, ( अक्षम्य )
Synonyms = Impermissible, Indefencesible.
Antonyms = Acceptable, Good.
6) WORSENING (Verb) = Diminish, ( कमी )
Synonyms = Aggravate, Damage.
Antonyms = Aid, Comfort.
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Daily Gk Tonic From The Hindu Editorial
The Reserve Bank of India is India’s central banking institution, which controls the issuance and supply of the Indian rupee. Until the Monetary Policy Committee was established in 2016, it also controlled monetary policy in India.
Governor: Shaktikanta Das Trending
Bank rate: 6.50%
Interest on reserves: 4.00% (market determined)
Founder: British Raj
Subsidiary: National Housing Bank
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