Releases commemorative coin to mark 90 years of RBI
“RBI plays a pivotal role in advancing our nation's growth trajectory”
“RBI has witnessed both the pre and post-independence eras and has created an identity around the world based on its professionalism and commitment”
“Today we have reached a point where the Indian banking system is being seen as a strong and sustainable banking system of the world”
“Government has worked on the strategy of recognition, resolution and recapitalization”
“Steps like active price monitoring and fiscal consolidation kept inflation at a moderate level even during difficult times of Corona”
“Today, India is becoming the engine of global growth with 15 percent share in global GDP growth”
“RBI is the appropriate body for the holistic appreciation of the banking vision of Viksit Bharat”

Governor of Maharashtra Shri Ramesh Bais ji, Chief Minister Shri Eknath Shinde ji, my colleagues in the cabinet Nirmala Sitharaman ji, Bhagwat Karad ji and Pankaj Chaudhary ji, Deputy Chief Ministers of Maharashtra Government Devendra (Fadnavis) ji and Ajit (Pawar) ji, Governor of Reserve Bank Shaktikanta Das, officers of Reserve Bank of India, other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen,

Today, the Reserve Bank of India has reached a historic milestone. RBI has completed its 90 years. As an institution, RBI has been a witness to both pre-independence and post-independence eras. Today, RBI's recognition worldwide is attributed to its professionalism and commitment. I extend my congratulations to all the employees and officers of the Reserve Bank of India on the 90 years since its establishment.

Furthermore, I consider those who are associated with RBI at this time to be very fortunate. The policies you formulate today, the work you do, will determine the direction of RBI for the next decade. This decade will take this institution to its centenary year. And this decade is equally crucial for the ‘Sankalp Yatra’ of a ‘Viksit Bharat’. And for that, as your mantra suggests - while giving top priority to RBI's rapid growth, it is equally important to focus on trust and stability. I extend best wishes to RBI for its objectives and resolutions as well

Friends,

You are experts in your respective fields. You know that the country's economy and GDP largely depends on the coordination of monetary and fiscal policies. I remember when I participated in the Reserve Bank's '80th' year program in 2014, the situation was entirely different. The entire banking sector of Bharat was grappling with problems and challenges. Concerns about the stability of Bharat’s banking system and its future were widespread, especially regarding non-performing assets (NPAs). The situation was so dire that public sector banks were not able to contribute significantly to the country's economic progress. We all started from there. And look, today Bharat’s banking system is considered a strong and sustainable system in the world. The banking system, which was once on the verge of sinking, is now making profits and showing record growth in credit.

Friends,

You also know that such a significant change in just 10 years was not easy. This change came because there was clarity in our policies, intentions, and decisions. This change came because there was determination and honesty in our efforts. Today, the country is witnessing that when intentions are right, policies are also right. When policies are right, decisions are also right. And when decisions are right, the results are also right. In short, what I want to say is - when intentions are right, results are right.

How the country's banking system transformed is in itself a subject of study. There wasn't any stone left unturned. Our government worked on the policy of 'recognition', 'resolution', and 'recapitalization'. To improve the condition of public sector banks, the government infused nearly 3.5 lakh crore rupees of capital and implemented several governance-related reforms. The new framework of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code alone resolved close to 3.25 lakh crore rupees worth of loans.

And one figure that the citizens must know is that more than 27,000 applications, with underlying defaults of over 9 lakh crore rupees, were resolved even before admission into the IBC. This demonstrates the effectiveness of this new system. The gross NPA of banks, which was around 11% in 2018, has decreased to less than 3% by September 2023.

Today, the problem of the Twin Balance Sheet is now a part of the past. Today, banks' credit growth has reached up to 15 per cent. In all these achievements, the RBI has played a significant role as a partner and its efforts are commendable.

Friends,

Discussion about institutions like the RBI often remains confined to financial definitions and complex terminologies. It's natural given the intricacies of your work. However, the work you do directly impacts the lives of ordinary citizens. Over the past 10 years, we have highlighted this connection between the central bank, the banking system, and the common person at the grassroots level. Financial inclusion for the poor is a significant example today. We have 52 crore Jan Dhan accounts in the country, with over 55% of these accounts held in the name of women. The impact of this financial inclusion can also be seen in sectors like agriculture and fisheries.

Today, more than 7 crore farmers, fishermen, and livestock owners have farmer credit cards. This has given a significant boost to our rural economy. The cooperative sector has also received a major boost in the past 10 years. Cooperatives play a crucial role in the cooperative banking sector, which is also an important area of regulation and supervision for the Reserve Bank. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has now become a globally recognized platform. It processes more than 1200 crore transactions every month.

Now you are also working on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). This is also a snapshot of the transformation that has taken place in the last 10 years. Within a decade, we have entered into a completely new banking system, a new economy, and a new currency experience. And as I mentioned earlier, what has happened in the last 10 years is just the trailer. There is still much to do, we have to take the country much further ahead.

Friends,

It is crucial that we have clear goals for the next 10 years. We need to work together to expand the possibilities of digital transactions in the next decade. We also need to keep an eye on the changes coming from the shift towards a cashless economy. We must also strive to improve financial inclusion and empowerment efforts further.

Friends,

The banking needs of such a large population can indeed vary widely. Some people prefer the traditional physical branch model, while others prefer digital delivery. It is essential to formulate policies that improve the ease of banking and provide credit access according to everyone's needs. To make Bharat a leader in the field of Digital Payments Infrastructure (DPI), we need to continuously leverage Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The Reserve Bank must continue to take consistent steps for Bharat’s progress to be rapid, inclusive, and sustainable. As a regulator, the RBI has ensured rule-based discipline and financially prudent practices in the banking sector.

 However, it is also essential for the RBI to anticipate the future needs of various sectors, prepare in advance, and encourage banks to take proactive steps while assessing their requirements. I assure you that the government stands with you. You may recall that dealing with double-digit inflation was not reflected in financial policies ten years ago. To address this challenge, our government entrusted the Reserve Bank of India with the authority of inflation targeting. The Monetary Policy Committee has done an excellent job in fulfilling this mandate. Additionally, the government has taken steps such as active price monitoring and fiscal consolidation. Therefore, despite the COVID crisis, situations of war in different countries, and tensions, inflation in Bharat has remained at a moderate level.

Friends,

A country with clear priorities cannot be stopped from progressing. During the COVID crisis, we prioritized financial prudence while also giving top priority to the lives of ordinary citizens. That's why Bharat’s poor and middle class are now driving the economy forward despite the crisis. While many of the world's largest economies are still struggling to recover from the shock, the Indian economy is setting new records. The RBI can take Bharat’s success to the global level.

Balancing inflation control and growth is a unique challenge for any developing country. It is essential to think about which monetary tools can be used to address this challenge. The RBI can play a global leadership role by serving as a model for this approach. I say this based on ten years of experience, and after closely observing and understanding the world. This could greatly benefit the entire Global South.

Friends,

While setting targets for the next 10 years, we must also consider the aspirations of Bharat’s youth. Bharat is one of the youngest countries in the world today. RBI has a vital role in fulfilling the youth’s aspirations. Over the past 10 years, new sectors have emerged due to government policies, providing new opportunities for the country's youth. We can see expansion in emerging sectors such as green energy today.

The government is promoting sectors like solar energy and green hydrogen. There's been consistent growth in ethanol blending in the country. Bharat has emerged as a prime player in digital technology, and efforts have been made towards indigenous 5G technology. Additionally, we are playing a significant role as a defence sector exporter.

MSMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy and the manufacturing sector. All these sectors require different types of financing, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs provided a significant boost to this sector. The Reserve Bank also needs to think about out-of-the-box policies going forward. And I have seen that our Shaktikanta ji is an expert in thinking out of the box. And I am happy that most applause was reserved for this statement. It is very important to ensure that our youth get adequate credit availability, especially in new sectors.

Friends,

Innovation will play an important role in the 21st century. The government is making record investments in innovation. As you have seen we have allocated a research fund of 1 lakh crore rupees for innovation in the recent interim budget. It is essential to think about how we can prepare those who want to work in the field of cutting-edge technology, considering the proposals that come in. RBI should also start thinking about how it will assist them. We need to identify such individuals and create teams. We should develop expertise in both traditional businesses and upcoming subjects.

Similarly, the space sector is opening up, with new start-ups emerging. We need to see what kind of support they need for credit. Similarly, one of the largest sectors emerging in Bharat with full force is the tourism sector. The tourism sector is growing, and the whole world wants to come to Bharat, see Bharat, and understand Bharat. I read somewhere that tourism experts have said that in the coming years, Ayodhya will become the world's largest capital in religious tourism. We need to see our preparations to financially support this sector. As new sectors emerge in the country, we need to develop expertise in them from now on and brainstorm on how we will support them.

I am busy with elections for the next 100 days, so you have plenty of time to think, because there will be a lot of work to do right from the second day after taking the oath.

Friends,

We have done a lot of work on financial inclusion and digital payments. As a result, the financial capacity of our small businesses and street vendors is now transparently visible. Now, using this information, we need to financially empower them.

Friends,

We need to work together to further enhance Bharat’s economic self-reliance over the next 10 years. We should ensure that our economy is least affected by global crises. Today, Bharat is becoming an engine of global growth with a 15 per cent share in global GDP growth. In these circumstances, efforts should be made to make our currency more accessible and acceptable worldwide.

Another trend that has been observed globally in recent years is excessive economic expansion and increasing debt. The private sector debt of many countries has reached up to double their GDP. The debt level of several countries not only affects those countries but also impacts the entire global economy. The Reserve Bank should conduct a study on this matter.

Considering the prospects and potential of Bharat’s growth, it is essential to determine how much credit availability should be there and how it should be managed sustainably in a modern context.

Friends,

It will be equally important for our banking industry to advance in order to fund essential projects for the country. Amidst this necessity, there are also challenges on many fronts today. New technologies like AI and BlockChain have transformed banking methods, changing the entire approach. The role of cyber security has become crucial in the rising era of digital banking. Innovations in fintech are creating new avenues for banking. In such circumstances, we need to think about the necessary changes in the structure of the country's banking sector. This may require new financing, operating, and business models. From the credit needs of global champions to the requirements of street vendors, from cutting-edge sectors to traditional sectors, fulfilling these needs is crucial for the ‘Viksit Bharat’.

The Reserve Bank is a very appropriate institution for this entire study of the banking vision for a ‘Viksit Bharat’. Your efforts will be crucial for the development of a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047.

Once again, my best wishes to all of you.

Thank you!

 

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