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Proposed Women's Bank doesn't need special permission: RBI

Last Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 22:16

Mumbai: Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Anand Sinha Thursday said the proposed all-Women bank may not take much time to come up as this would fall under the ambit of the already existing public sector bank guidelines.

"If you see the Budget speech, this is to be set up as a public sector bank, therefore, there is no need for separate guidelines and it is not being covered under new bank guidelines," he told reporters at the Reserve Bank headquarters here in the customary post-budget press meet.

Sinha handles the banking operations and development department.

The Reserve Bank had last Friday floated the final guidelines for new bank licences, wherein it allowed both private and state-run bodies to float new banks.

Earlier in the day, Finance Minister P Chidambaram surprised everyone by announcing a bank exclusively for women and allocated Rs 1,000 crore as the initial capital for the proposed lender.

"I hope to obtain the necessary approvals and the banking licence by October 2013," Chidambaram said in his Budget speech.

Sinha also welcomed the move to include private sector and other scheduled banks under the short-term interest subvention scheme saying it will create a level playing field between the lenders.

"At least, this creates a level playing field and they can go out and set up the business," he said.

Meanwhile, Microfinance Institutions network (MFIN), a self-regulatory body of NBFC MFIs, today said the the proposed all-women public sector bank appears to be a good idea "in theory", but there would be many challenges in execution.

"The proposed all-women public sector bank, aimed at catering to SHGs and other women in rural areas is, in theory, a good step. But, the execution challenge is large. Hopefully, it will not end up like many other well?intentioned government schemes which fail to take-off," MFIN said in a statement.

Welcoming the additional Rs 100 crore India Microfinance Equity Fund, the industry body said the allocation is just symbolic and does not really benefit the industry which serves over 22 million unbanked clients in over 500 districts.

"The microfinance sector needs regulatory clarity and stability. The issue of regulatory duality needs to be addressed urgently. And, we hope that the Microfinance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill announced by the FM in the last year's Budget Speech will get passed in the next few months," MFIN said.

Permitting MFIs to serve as business correspondents is an overdue step for which the industry has been patiently waiting, it said.


First Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 22:16
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