RBI Governor Meets Trade, Industry bodies; Travel/Tour operators

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SRINAGAR: Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Mr. Raghuram Rajan Thursday afternoon interacted with the representatives of Trade and Industry Bodies and Travel and Tour operators of the valley.

The representatives urged the RBI Governor to ensure that the guidelines for the relief measures by banks in the areas affected by natural calamities are adhered to by all the nationalized banks operating in the State.

“Our housing and business sectors suffered massive damage in one of the worst ever urban flooding and we had high hopes from banking institutions that they will come forward to help us build our homes and support us in reviving our business, but unfortunately most of the banking institutions have shown reluctance and shunned their responsibilities in this regard” they said and asked the RBI Governor to use his good office and intervene in the matter. 

The representatives demanded interest waiver, restructuring of existing loans, sanctioning of fresh loans for resumption of normal business, keeping in view the total liability of the borrower arising out of the old loan where the assets financed have been damaged or lost on account of floods as well as the new loan for repair of such assets. They said that the repaying capacity of business community has been severally impaired due to the flood damage as such relief in repayment of loans has become necessary. 

Mr. Ranjan further said that he would like to understand as to how we can make the flow of credit easier to the business community and from the bank perspective how we can enhance their confidence and minimize their concerns regarding repayment. The RBI Governor said that his organization has no problem in supporting interest free financing.

The RBI Governor said that he has noted the concerns and suggestions put forth by the representatives of Trade and Industry Bodies and Travel and Tour operators and would communicate these to the Union Government. 

 Earlier in the day, Mr. Rajan interacted with the students from various Departments of Kashmir University. They asked questions pertaining to various issues of Finance & Economy and Mr. Rajan explained them about the working of the RBI.

Regional Director, RBI, Mr. D. Sethy, Dean, Commerce & Management Studies, Dr. Khurshid Bhat and other senior officers of the RBI were present during the interaction.

‘Rehab of Flood-affected Priority’

PULWAMA: The Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Mr. Raghuram Rajan Thursday said supporting the flood-affected people of J&K and reviving their livelihood should be at the forefront of any relief and rehabilitation effort. He said empowering flood-affected people with means to sustaining their livelihood is crucial aspect of rehabilitation.

RBI Governor today visited Pulwama on the initiative of the State’s Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu to explore the possibility of how financial institutions can be co-opted in reviving the local economy and reaching out to the flood-affected. This is for the first time in the history of the district that RBI Governor visited Pulwama.

During his visit here, Dr Rajan, accompanied by Dr Drabu, interacted with the local representatives of trade, business, entrepreneurs, agriculturalists and Self Help Groups. The Self Help Groups mostly comprised women enterprisers who are successfully running localized income-generating units. He also interacted flood-affected people of Pampore, Rajpora, Awantipora, Littar, Kakapora and other areas of Pulwama district said that such type of calamities damage the economic pursuits of the affected people and as such warrant cooperation and active involvement of Government and financial institutions to restore normal commercial and economic activity.

The issues raised by the delegations with the RBI Governor included poor credit support from formal banking sector to agriculture and horticulture sectors, ensuring more proactive role of the financial institutions in the rehabilitation of the flood-affected, increasing credit-deposit ratio by banks, opening more bank branches in unbanked rural areas and reviving the cooperative banks.

The RBI Governor assured the delegations that the issues like streamlining and easing of the lending procedures by the banks and involvement of the banking sector in rehabilitation of the flood-affected would be addressed at the earliest in consultation with the State Government.

Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb A Drabu, Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Mr Neeraj Kumar, Senior RBI officials and other officers of District Pulwama were also present on the occasion. 

Mr Rajan said that he was very much impressed by the dedication of the local artists who despite suffering heavy losses due to floods and having not been able to sell their finished products are still willing to keep the traditional handicrafts alive and going.

Dr Rajan said, he would discuss with the State Finance Minister and other agencies as to how these beautiful products can be marketed in a big way outside the state so that Self Help Groups associated with these local crafts get better returns.

In response to the demands from Self Help Groups and flood-affected people regarding soft loans and interest waiver in favor of agriculturists, artisans, small business and trading establishments affected by floods, the RBI Governor said that the State Government has already taken some steps, however, he would take up the matter further with the Union Government and financial institutions and see what can be done in this regard.

Earlier, the Finance Minister, Dr. Haseeb A Drabu while welcoming the RBI Governor at district Pulwama, briefed him about the overall impact of flood and the measures taken by the Government to provide relief to the affected people. He said Government as a relief measure for the flood affected waived off 50% of KCC loans for the smallest and most vulnerable farmers who had an outstanding balance of Rs. 1 lakh thus benefiting close to 2 lakh KCC card holders. He said 89 villages of district Pulwama were badly affected during the floods and relief under SDRF norms has already been extended to the affected people like rest of the State. He said, however, more is needed to be done to provide appropriate relief to the people of the State. 

The locals hailed Dr Drabu’s initiative of inviting RBI Governor to visit the area.

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