ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Asset Reconstruction Companies and the Bad Debt of Indian Banks

The finance minister’s Budget speech 2021 revealed the government’s plans to establish an Asset Reconstruction Company to take over bad debt from the books of public sector banks for eventual disposal. That suggests that the ARC route rather than recapitalisation would in the coming months be the main means of refurbishing capital in the public banking system. Since there are as many as 28 ARCs already in existence, the reason why the creation of one more would resolve a problem that is expected to worsen over the coming year is unclear. In fact, past experience indicates that ARCs have not helped enhance the actual recovery of lock-up in stressed assets. This suggests that the move is a means to postpone the problem of bad debt resolution so as to avoid having to recapitalise the banks with budgetary resources, which would widen the central fiscal deficit.

 

Down the Rabbit Hole

The union government’s effort at resolving the problem of excess bad debt on the books of Indian banks has come full circle with the announcement of one more Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) or “bad bank” as a final solution to the problem. In Budget speech 2021, the finance minister announced plans to create a “new structure” to clean up the books of banks. The speech declared,

An Asset Reconstruction Company Limited and Asset Management Company would be set up to consolidate and take over the existing stressed debt and then manage and dispose of the assets to Alternate Investment Funds and other potential investors for eventual value realisation.

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Updated On : 15th May, 2021

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