Bank mergers to top agenda at PM-led ‘Gyan Sangam’ retreat

01 Jan 2015


Mergers and acquisitions among public sector banks will be a major theme at the two-day 'Gyan Sangam' in Pune on 2-3 January - a retreat of chiefs of financial institutions which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, finance minister Arun Jaitley and Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.

The first retreat of its kind, with bankers and insurers, will also deliberate on financial inclusion and the direct subsidy benefit transfer scheme.

At the retreat there will be sessions by prominent experts, including global consultancy firms, group discussions, sharing and demonstration of best practices and technologies.

The retreat will end with presentation of a draft action plan to Prime Minister Modi on the second day.

The PM will be interacting with chiefs of financial institutions at the retreat, which is being organised to find out "what has gone wrong and what should be done both by banks as well as by the government to improve and consolidate the position of PSBs."

The consolidation of the PSU banks or PSBs has been pending for long and has not made any headway despite various reports advocating merger of various small banks.

There are 27 public sector banks, including five associates of State Bank of India.

Finance minister Jaitley in his first Budget speech in July had indicated the government intention of consolidation in public sector banks.

"There have been some suggestions for consolidation of public sector banks. Government, in principle, agrees to consider these suggestions," he had said.

Besides the PM and the finance minister, RBI governor Rajan and top finance ministry officials will attend the retreat.

"The final objective would be to prepare a blue-print of reform action plan, once adopted which could then be implemented by the banks as well as by the government," official sources said.

Efforts would be made to seek out-of-the-box ideas from prominent experts and from top-level managers attending the retreat.

The other topics of discussion will include financial literacy, priority sector lending, interest subvention and human resource.

Total gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of public sector banks stood at over Rs2,43,000 crore as of 30 September 2014.

The top 30 NPAs account for Rs87,368 crore or 35.9 per cent of total gross NPAs of PSBs.

At the same time there would be deliberation on resource mobilisation by these banks to meet global capital adequacy norms.

Public sector banks require equity capital of Rs2,40,000 crore by 2018 to meet Basel III norms. For the current fiscal, the government has allocated Rs11,200 crore for bank capitalisation.

There will be a talk on financial architecture of MSME by ICICI Bank chairman K V Kamath, who is also heading a committee on the same subject.

The second day would begin with at 9 am talk by Swami Sukhbodhanandji on 'Leadership and Change Management'.

The second day session would showcase the 'best practices', including that of Axis Bank Mobile Youth account, a retail product design based on life insights, an official statement said.

IDBI Bank's electronically secured bank and treasury receipts payment system and SBI's specialised cadre IT function have also been selected as best practices for discussion, it added.

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