After announcing a Rs 2.1 lakh crore mega bank recapitalisation last month, the government now is seeking a special dividend from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to arrange funds for the recapitalisation.
"The RBI has been asked if it can pay a special dividend, apart from the yearly surplus that it pays the Centre. This dividend, if agreed to by the central bank, will be used only for bank recapitalisation," a senior official told Business Standard.
If the demand is accepted, the dividend payout is likely to be made during the current RBI financial year, which ends in June 30, 2018. The bank official, however, stated that, as of now it's not clear if the central bank has or will have room for a special dividend, BS reported.
The central bank in its financial year 2016-17 transferred Rs 30,659 crore of the surpluses to the central government, which is less than 50 percent of the amount it sent in the previous year.
Economic Affairs Scretary Subhash Garg said that the RBI's share was expected to be around Rs 58,000 crore.
He also suggested that RBI had Rs 14,000 crore more in surplus from the previous financial year for provisioning, and the Centre might ask the apex bank to pay some of that amount as well, reported the business daily.
In the financial year 2017-18 budget, the government accounted as much as Rs 74,901 crore as dividends from the RBI and public sector banks.
Of the Rs 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation plan, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley then said that Rs 1.35 lakh crore would come from recapitalisation bonds, Rs 18,139 crore Centre's budgetary funds and the remaining Rs 58,000 crore would be mopped up from capital market by diluting the government's equity.
The government may issue the first tranche of the bank recapitalisation bonds around the first week of December. This tranche could comprise bonds with 10-year tenure and an interest rate of 7 percent, however the quantum of the money has not been decided yet, reported BS.
This capital infusion is by far highest in many years. Earlier under the Indradhanush plan, the government has allocated Rs 20,000 crore towards bank recapitalisation over the current and next fiscal year.