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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Unveiled EASE 4.0; Reviewed PSBs; Increased Family Pension to 30%

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In August 2021, Nirmala Sitharaman, the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs unveiled the 4th edition of the Public Sector Bank (PSB) Reforms Agenda ‘EASE 4.0’ (Enhanced Access and Service Excellence) for 2021-22 – tech-enabled, simplified, and collaborative banking.

  • The finance minister also unveiled the annual report for the PSB Reforms Agenda ‘EASE 3.0’ for 2020-21 and gave awards for best performing banks on the EASE 3.0 Banking Reforms Index.

i.Award-Winning PSB on EASE 3.0 Banking Reforms Index:

Rank EASE Reforms Index Award 2021 Award for Best Improvement from The March Baseline Performance 
1 State Bank of India (SBI) Indian Bank
2 Bank of Baroda (BOB) Union Bank of India
3 Union Bank of India (UBI) Punjab National Bank

ii.Theme wise Top 3 Award-winning PSBs under EASE 3.0

 

Rank

Theme 1 Theme 2 Theme 3 Theme 4 Theme 5
Smart Lending for Aspiring India Tech-enabled ease of banking Institutionalizing Prudent Banking Governance and outcome centric HR Deepening FI and customer protection
1 BOB SBI BOB UBI UBI
2 SBI BOB Punjab National Bank (PNB) PNB SBI
3 UBI UBI Canara Bank SBI BOB

Key Initiatives of EASE:

i.Initiatives under EASE 3.0: Around 4.4 lakh customers have been benefited through the instantaneous and simplified credit access through [email protected], the flagship initiative under EASE 3.0.

  • [email protected] is an End-to-end digitalised, time-bound retail and MSME lending by larger PSBs, leveraging Account Aggregators, FinTechs and PSBloansin59minutes.com.

ii.Initiatives under EASE 4.0:

  • Objective: To deepen the customer-centric digital transformation of the lenders.
  • The different key initiatives under EASE 4.0 include – Dial a loan, [email protected], Analytics based credit offer, Partnership with AgriTechs for data exchange, Cloud-based IT system, Process automation, Co-lending with Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs), etc.

Review on Performance of PSBs:

a.Profit and GNPA: 

i.In FY21 the PSBs have reported a profit in FY21 for the 1st time after 5 years of loss. In FY21 they have gained a profit of Rs 31,817 crore compared to a loss of Rs 26,016 crore in FY20.This is the first year when PSBs have reported profit after five years of losses.

ii.Gross NPA: In FY21, the gross non-performing assets (GNPA) of PSBs has been reduced by Rs 62,000 crore to Rs 6.16 lakh crore.

iii.Impact of 4R strategy in PSBs:

The government’s 4R strategy of Recognition, Resolution, Recapitalization and Reform has improved the performance of PSBs in FY21.

Indicators  FY21
Net Profit Rs 31,820 crore
Gross NPAs 9.1% (14.58% – March 2018)
Net NPA 3.1% (7.97% – March 2018)
Provision Coverage Ratio 84% (62.7% – March 2018)
 Capital Adequacy  14.04%
Amount raised as debt and equity   Rs 58,697 crore (in which Rs 10,543 crore as equity alone)

c.Improved Digital Lending: 

i.In FY21, PSBs have disbursed around Rs 40,819 crore of fresh personal, home and vehicle loans through digital channels.

ii.The top 7 PSBs have offered Rs 49,777 crore fresh retail loans to their existing customers.

iii.Around 72 percent of financial transactions at PSBs are now happening through digital channels.

  • The number of customers active on digital channels doubled from 3.4 crores in FY2O to 7.6 crores in FY21.

iv.Presently, PSBs are offering services across call centres, Internet banking, and Mobile banking in 14 regional languages.

d.Growth:

i.The performance of PSBs have grown in FY21 since the launch of the EASE 3.0 Reforms Agenda in February 2020.

ii.The overall score of PSBs was increased by 35 percent between March-2020 and March-2021 with the average EASE index score improving from 44.2 to 59.7 (out of 100).

iii.Among the 6 themes of the EASE 3.0 Reforms Agenda, the highest improvement was seen in the themes of ‘Smart Lending’ and ‘Institutionalising Prudent Banking’.

iv.The transactions provided by Bank Mitras in rural areas increased by 13 percent and the enrolments in Micro personal accident insurance also improved by 50 percent in Q4FY21 compared to Q4FY20.

v.The Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) transactions through micro ATMs was increased by two times.

Note- A Bank Mitra is an individual who acts as an agent of the bank in a place where opening a bank branch is not possible. These individuals represent banks and provide all kinds of assistance to bank customers.

Other Advancements:

i.The PSBs, private banks and NBFCs supported over 1.16 crore borrowers through the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) alone.

  • In June 2021, the Government increased the Target Credit Line under the ECLGS scheme from Rs 3 Lakh crore to Rs 4.5 Lakh crore.

ii.Recently, the govt launched ‘Ubharte Sitaare Fund’ (USF) of Corpus Rs 250 crore for Export-oriented Small & mid-sized companies across India.  Click here to know more

iii.The banks were directed to interact with the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) to address the requirements of exporters.

Participants: Pankaj Jain, Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Amit Agrawal, Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services, and Rajkiran Rai G, Chairman of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) participated in the launch of EASE 4.0.

PSB Employees – Family Pension Increased to 30%; Contribution under NPS hiked to 14% 

i.The Government has approved the Indian Banks’ Association’s (IBA) proposal to increase the family pension for the family of PSB employees to 30 percent of the last salary drawn.

  • Through this, the family pension for a PSB employees’ family will be in the range of Rs 30,000 to Rs 35,000.

ii.The Government has also approved the proposal to increase PSB employers’ pension under the National Pension System (NPS) from the existing 10 percent to 14 percent.

Recent Related News:

State Bank of India (SBI) topped the list of Public Sector Banks (PSB) writing off loans in FY21 followed by Union Bank of India (UBI).

IBA and SBI announced that all PSBs will provide unsecured personal loans between Rs 25,000 to Rs 5 lakh to salaried, non-salaried and pensioners for COVID-19 treatment costs (to them and their family members).

About Ministry of Finance:

Union Minister – Nirmala Sitharaman (Constituency – Karnataka)
Minister of State – Pankaj Chaudhary (Constituency – Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh), Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad (Constituency – Maharashtra)