Ray of hope for tourism sector, RBI opens Rs 15,000 cr liquidity window for hotels, aviation & tourism

In a bid to support the revival of sectors hit most by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Reserve Bank of India on Friday decided to open a separate liquidity window of Rs 15,000 crore for certain contact-intensive sectors like hotels and restaurants, tourism and aviation ancillary services.

“In order to mitigate the adverse impact of the second wave of the pandemic on certain contact-intensive sectors, a separate liquidity window of Rs 15,000 crore is being opened till March 31, 2022, with tenures of up to three years at the repo rate,” RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said while announcing the bi-monthly monetary policy.

Under the scheme, banks can provide fresh lending support to hotels and restaurants; tourism — travel agents, tour operators and adventure/heritage facilities; aviation ancillary services — ground handling and supply chain; and other services that include private bus operators, car repair services, rent-a-car service providers, event/conference organisers, spa clinics, and beauty parlours/saloons, he said.

“By way of an incentive, banks will be permitted to park their surplus liquidity up to the size of the loan book created under this scheme with the Reserve Bank under the reverse repo window at a rate which is 25 bps lower than the repo rate or, termed in a different way, 40 bps higher than the reverse repo rate,” he said.
Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO

Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO  shares, “We welcome the announcement by the RBI offering loans to the tourism and Hospitality sector on easy terms and a lower rate of interest. Hope tour operators who have had almost zero income for past more than one year, would get some succour out of it. Also, we would request the government to announce SEIS (Service Export Incentive Scheme) which is now pending for the financial year 2019-20. Besides we expect some grant for the revival of the battered tourism sector and rationalisation of GST.” 

The government has also removed the current ceiling of Rs 500 crore of loan outstanding for eligibility under ECLGS 3.0, subject to maximum additional ECLGS assistance to each borrower is limited to 40 per cent or Rs 200 crore, whichever is lower.

Loans to the civil aviation sector have been made eligible under ECLGS 3.0. The ECLGS 3.0 earlier covered business enterprises in hospitality, travel and tourism, leisure and sporting sectors, which had as of February 29, 2020, total credit outstanding not exceeding Rs 500 crore and overdue, if any, was for 60 days or less, on that date.

To nurture the still-nascent growth impulses and ensure the continued flow of credit to the real economy, he said, the Reserve Bank had extended fresh support of Rs 50,000 crore on April 7, 2021, to All India Financial Institutions (AIFIs) for new lending in 2021-22. This included Rs 15,000 crore to the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).

“To further support the funding requirements of micro, small and medium enterprises, particularly smaller MSMEs and other businesses including those in credit deficient and aspirational districts, it has been decided to extend a special liquidity facility of Rs 16,000 crore to SIDBI for on-lending/refinancing through novel models and structures,” he said.

This facility will be available at the prevailing policy repo rate for a period of up to one year, which may be further extended depending on its usage, he said.- PTI


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