Reserve Bank changes NPA norms for MSMEs

Reserve Bank changes NPA norms for MSMEs

A security guard stands next to the logo of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) inside its headquarters in Mumbai. REUTERS

In a major relief to MSMEs, the Reserve Bank on Wednesday eased NPA classification norms for such units facing input credit linkages and associated issues under the Goods and Services Tax.

"In continuation of support and relief to MSMEs, NPA recognition for GST and non-GST MSMEs is now at 180 days for dues up to December 31, 2018," Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said.

Now 180-day NPA norms are applicable for all micro, small and medium enterprises dues between September 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 if the account was standard on August 31, 2017, he said, adding this dispensation covers both registered as well as unregistered MSMEs.

With regard to GST registered MSMEs, 180-day NPA norms will be brought back to 90 days only in a phased manner, starting January 1, 2019.

For non-GST registered MSMEs, NPA norms would revert to 90 days from January 1, 2019.

It meets the long-standing demand of the industry, in particular the tapering of NPA norms in a phased manner, he said, adding these steps are going to be huge positive and will encourage GST registration by MSMEs.

In February, banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) were allowed to temporarily classify their exposures to the GST registered MSMEs, having aggregate credit facilities from these lenders up to Rs 25 crore, as per a 180-day past due criterion.

"This was done with a view to ease the transition of MSMEs to the formalised sector post their registration under the GST," the RBI said.

"Having regard to the input credit linkages and associated issues, it has now been decided to temporarily allow banks and NBFCs to classify their exposure, as per the 180 day past due criterion, to all MSMEs with aggregate credit facilities up to the above limit, including those not registered under GST," it said.

The RBI also said that Standalone Primary Dealers (SPDs) would gradually permitted to diversify their activities beyond G-sec activities into alternate streams, within acceptable limits.

"In order to facilitate SPDs to provide comprehensive services to their FPI clients, it has been decided to provide the SPDs a limited Foreign Exchange licence. A circular in this regard shall be issued by the end of June 2018," it said.

With regard to Core Investment Companies (CICs), it said, detailed instructions relating to their exposure of towards InvITs will be announced within a week.

CICs registered with the Reserve Bank as NBFCs primarily invest in group companies and do not carry out any other NBFC activity.

They are required to invest in group companies in the form of equity shares, preference shares, bonds, debentures, debt or loans, at least up to 90 per cent of their net assets, while equity investments in group companies must constitute at least 60 per cent of net assets.

"In order to promote infrastructure development through investment in InvITs, it has been decided to enable CICs to act as sponsors to InvIT issuances and permit them to reckon their holdings of InvIT units as sponsors as part of the sub-limit of 60% for equity investments in group companies," it said.