Lok Sabha passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 today. This Bill replaces the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance which was promulgated on 26th June this year. Speaking about the Bill, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said it will help in safeguarding interest of the co-operative bank depositors' in the country. She also raised the issue of PMC bank and asserted that this bill will protect depositors’ interest in similar situations.
Ms. Sitharaman said that the current pandemic has adversely affected the financial health of co-operative banks. She informed that the financial health of 277 urban co-operative banks is in a poor condition. The Finance Minister added that out of these, 105 co-operative banks are unable to maintain even minimum regulatory balance whereas 47 have reported negative net worth. She said the amendments to section 3, 45 and 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, proposed in the current bill seeks to bring parity in terms of rules and regulations in co-operative banks as applicable in the commercial banks.
The bill also enables the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make a scheme for reconstruction or amalgamation of co-operative banks to secure its proper management, and in the interest of depositors.
Allaying the apprehensions echoed by few members in the Lok Sabha regarding cooperative societies providing long term capitals for agriculture development and primary agricultural credit societies, the minister said that the bill does not include them under its ambit. She affirmed that the cooperative societies which do not use words like bank, banking or banker in their names and entities that do not clear Cheques are not covered under the purview of the new bill.
Congress, CPM and TMC members opposed the bill terming it as being against the federal structure of the country. The minister in her reply said that the bill pertains to a subject in the Union list and therefore did not require consultation with states, which she said, is only mandated for subjects in the concurrent list. (AIR)