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India’s construction, property industries in trouble, says Raghuram Rajan

The RBI should carry out an asset quality review of the NBFCs for their exposure to realty, infra.

ET Online|
Updated: Dec 07, 2019, 05.45 PM IST
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India’s real estate, construction and infrastructure industries are a ticking time bomb, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has warned. Rajan said the sectors were in “deep trouble,” and the non-bank finance companies which lend to these sectors should have their asset quality reviewed.

There is also “significant distress in rural areas,” Rajan wrote in an opinion piece in the India Today magazine. India, the former central banker said, is in a growth recession, an economy growing at a slow pace and where unemployment is rising. India’s GDP growth slowed to 4.5% in the quarter ended September, a six-year low. A crisis among shadow lenders and a build-up of bad loans at banks have curbed lending in the economy.

The Reserve Bank of India should carry out an asset quality review of the non-bank finance companies, Rajan suggested in the piece. The central bank closely monitors the top fifty non-bank financiers, which account for about 75% of total assets in the shadow banking sector, Governor Shaktikanta Das said in a press conference on Thursday. “We have a fairly good idea of where the vulnerabilities lie,” said Das, reiterating that the central bank won’t allow any large or systematically important non-bank lender to collapse.

Owing to the financial crisis and the slowdown in the sector, residential projects worth around USD 66 billion are facing bankruptcy proceedings, a recent survey had said. According to property consultant JLL, nearly 4.54 lakh units running behind their completion dates due to various reasons.

"In the current scenario, it is the residential real estate segment that presents the maximum amount of stressed assets. India's residential sector has been reeling under the pressure of delayed/stalled projects with 4.54 lakh units running behind their completion dates," the agency said.

Some of them are already under bankruptcy proceedings and the value of these projects is estimated to be USD 66 billion, JLL said.

As per the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, a total of 115 insolvency cases have been filed as of September 2019 under real estate category. Of these 87 cases are under process while 28 are closed.

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