Govt allows banks to buy securities of low-rated NBFCs under PCGS 2.0
The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the scheme on Wednesday.
Following the approval from the Cabinet, the scheme has now become operational and its framework has been communicated to banks.
The scheme covers not only non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) but also micro-finance institutions (MFIs).
The scheme will cover securities which are low in ratings and even unrated paper, according to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) issued by the Ministry of Finance.
"The tenure of the bonds or Commercial Papers (CPs) eligible for the purchase under this scheme shall be from 9 months to 18 months except for unrated paper whose original or initial maturity should not exceed one year," it said.
All bonds or CPs purchased by public sector banks under this scheme will be primary issuance only and the government guarantee on purchase of the bonds or CPs will be co-terminus with the tenure of the instrument.
Under the PCGS 2.0, sovereign guarantee of up to 20 per cent of first loss will be provided to state-owned banks for purchase of bonds or CPs of NBFCs, MFIs and HFCs having a credit rating of AA or below.
According to a senior official of public sector banks, this is a good scheme at a time when banks are flushed with liquidity and very little avenue to deploy.
NBFCs/HFCs, which have reported under Special Mention Account (SMA-1) category on technical reasons alone during the last one year period prior to August 1, 2018, will be eligible for benefit under the scheme.
Earlier, NBFCs/HFCs reported as SMA-1 or SMA-2 during the specified period were ineligible.
The SMA-1 refers to those accounts where the principal or interest payment remains overdue between 31-60 days, while SMA-2 pertains to those where the overdue period is between 61-90 days.
The government has also relaxed the net profit criteria under the scheme. Henceforth the entities which have made net profit in at least one of the three financial years of 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 will be eligible. Earlier, entities which made a net profit in 2017-18 or 2018-19 were only eligible.
The existing PCGS, it may be mentioned, was issued on December 11, 2019 offering sovereign guarantee of up to 10 per cent of first loss to PSBs for purchasing pooled assets rated BBB+ or above up to Rs 1 lakh crore, from financially sound NBFCs.Since NBFCs, HFCs and MFIs play a crucial role in sustaining consumption demand as well as capital formation in the small and medium segment, it is essential that they continue to get funding without disruption, and the extended PCGS is expected to systematically enable the same, it said. DP MKJ
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