15th Finance Commission meets banks, experts

The 15th Finance Commission held meetings with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), leading commercial banks and financial institutions, as well as eminent economists on May 8 and 9 in Mumbai

May 8, 2019

India’s average GDP growth in the last five years has topped 7.5 per cent defining a new normal for the Indian economy

In meeting with the RBI, the parties discussed the need of setting up State Finance Commissions or respective States

In meeting with the banks, the Commission discussed the cost of borrowing and recapitalization of banks, among others

The Commission met leading economists who put forth various issues for consideration such as budgetary allocations

The 15th Finance Commission held meetings with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the apex bank, leading commercial banks, financial institutions as well as eminent economists on May 8 and 9 in Mumbai. The commission was headed by its chairman, NK Singh, and included other senior officials. The key meetings focussed on the health of the Indian economy, and discussed critical resolutions for the road ahead. The US$2.6 trillion economy is estimated to have grown by 7 per cent in fiscal 2018-19, ending March 2019, compared with a growth of 7.2 per cent in fiscal 2017-18. Meanwhile, the average GDP growth in the last five years has topped 7.5 per cent defining a new normal for the Indian economy.

In the meeting with the RBI, headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, the two sides discussed the need of setting up State Finance Commissions for respective State Governments, which will help bring improved fiscal discipline.

The meeting also discussed public sector borrowing requirements and the challenges around market borrowings of State Governments. The meeting brought up the role of States in growth and inflation, for instance, the role of States in Ease of doing Business. In relation to this, the meeting debated the need of expenditure codes, since the expenditure norms vary from State to State. In 2018, the Central Government had launched Ease of doing Business ranking of Indian States.

The Finance Commission met with leading economists who put forth various issues for the consideration of the Commission. These included the need to adopt a total view on the borrowing requirements of the consolidated public sector, encompassing off-budget transactions, borrowings of PSUs and contingent liabilities of both the Union and State Governments. This is important from many angles, including debt sustainability, fiscal transparency and proper coordination of fiscal and monetary policies. Economists also made suggestions regarding the formula for horizontal devolution of Central taxes among the States and the provision of grant-in-aid to the State Governments, among other proposals.

In the meeting with the banks and financial institutions, the Commission discussed the cost of borrowing of the Centre and the States, recapitalization of banks and its impact on borrowing costs of governments, among other pressing issues. The meeting was attended by the State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank, IDFC First Bank and IDBI Bank.


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