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India Banking Research

The Indian central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is considering the possibility of introducing a fiat cryptocurrency in the country.

As the Indian economy grows rapidly, there is an opportunity to bring ever larger number of Indians into the banking mainstream through both public and private banks.

The recent move by the Indian Government to ban the old Rupees 500 and 1000 notes has created turbulence far beyond what was imagined and planned for. The intent was laudable, as the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to curb growing corruption in the economy. However, the lack of preparation on part of the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and the commercial banks has meant that the citizens have been left in the lurch.

On Oct 6th, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the operating guidelines for Payment Banks (PBs) and Small Finance Banks (SFBs).

On September 4th, Urjit Patel officially became the new central bank chief in India. He succeeded Raghuram Rajan, who was famous for largely stabilising the economy during his three year term. Under Patel's leadership, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to continue the current policy regime.

The recent introduction of offline mobile banking apps in India underlines the determination by both government and private banks to push financial inclusion in India and is a strong signal that India is ready to embrace fintech and innovation to solve complex problems within its banking network.

In its August 2016 report on the use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) for mobile financial services, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) conceded that their attempts to replicate the success of USSD mobile financial services in other nations, such as Kenya’s M-Pesa, and provide banking solutions for the underbanked, had failed.

Last week, the government injected Rs 22,915 Crores or approximately $ 3.14 billion in 13 public sector banks in India. Of this one third of the allocation went to the State Bank of India. The capital infusion is expected to help banking institutions clean up their books, increase lending activity and also raise additional funds. However, not everyone is celebrating the move.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed an inter-regulatory working group to address the regulatory issues relating to fintech and digital banking in the country. This is a welcome step in the right direction, in line with recommendations by Kapronasia in its recent report titled: ‘Fintech Regulation in Asia’.

Securities market regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has taken credit rating agencies to task after a spate of fiascos wherein a rating agency downgraded a certain paper from BBB+ to BB+ and finally D all within a span of month. In another case the credit rating agency suspended ratings on a certain stock citing non-availability of sufficient information. Interestingly, in both the cases the companies have been called out for debt servicing issues in the wake of the NPA process at major Indian banks.

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