RBI Governor Shaktikanta DasRBI Governor Shaktikanta Das
MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday announced a targeted on-tap liquidity window of Rs 50,000 crore to set up Covid-related healthcare infrastructure to counter the devastating coronavirus surge gripping the country.
“Under the scheme, banks can provide fresh lending support to a wide range of entities including vaccine manufactures; importers/suppliers of vaccines and priority medical devices; hospitals/dispensaries; pathology labs; manufactures and suppliers of oxygen and ventilators; importers of vaccines and Covid related drugs; logistics firms and also patients for treatment,” RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said at a virtual briefing.
Shaktikanta Das said cheap loans would be available until March 31 next year, and vowed to deploy “unconventional” measures if the crisis worsens.
Quick Edit: RBI’s another round of easing to limit damage
He spoke as India announced a record 3,780 deaths in 24 hours as well as 382,000 cases.
“The devastating speed with which the virus affects different regions of the country has to be matched by swift and wide-ranging actions,” he said.
With hospitals complaining of critical shortages of oxygen, beds and vaccines, the new measures aim to improve access to emergency health care during the pandemic, he said. It will be easier for banks to give cheap loans to hospitals, oxygen manufacturers and even patients.
“The immediate objective is to preserve human life and restore livelihoods through all means possible,” Das added.
India’s underfunded health care system has struggled to cope with the latest Covid-19 onslaught, with patients dying in hospital parking lots due to a lack of beds and oxygen.
The Reserve Bank of India also asked banks on Wednesday to let certain borrowers have more time to repay loans, among other support measures, amid a major second wave of Covid-19 infections in the country that has led to strict lockdowns in several states.
The moratorium will be available to individuals and small and medium enterprises that have not restructured their loans in 2020 and were classified as standard accounts till March 2021, Shaktikanta Das said.
The RBI governor said the second purchase of government securities worth Rs 35,000 crore under the G-sec Acquisition Programme (G-SAP 1.0) will be done on May 20 for an orderly evolution of the yield curve as a fresh Covid-19 wave threatens to hit the economy.
The first purchase of Rs 25,000 crore last month received enthusiastic response from the market, Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das said while announcing slew of measures to provide relief to various segments of economy hit by the second wave of the pandemic.
RBI will do second purchase of government securities (G-secs) aggregating Rs 35,000 crore in two weeks, he said.
To provide clarity on its bond-buying programme through open market operations (OMO), Das had announced Rs 1 lakh crore target for the first quarter under the new instrument called G-SAP 1.0.
On the rate of price rise, he said, food and fuel inflation have pushed core inflation.