No proposal to merge public sector general insurance companies: MoS Karad

The government said on Tuesday that there was no proposal so far to merge the public sector general insurance companies. There are four general insurance companies – New India Assurance Company, National Insurance Company Limited (NICL), United India Insurance Company Limited (UIICL) and Oriental Insurance Company Limited (OICL).

In a written response to the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of State for Finance, Bhagwat K Karad, said that no proposal was currently under consideration by the government for the merger of the public sector general insurance companies.

In a bid to foster blockchain technology to provide various financial services, banks have set up the Indian Banks Blockchain Infrastructure Company Private Limited (IBBIC), Karad said in another written response.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) informed that it had been proactive in providing guidance for the development of blockchain-based applications through its new regulatory sandbox environment, he said.

“State Bank of India (SBI) and Canara Bank are part of a company called Indian Banks’ Blockchain Infrastructure Company Private Limited (IBBIC) for the use of blockchain technology to provide various financial services. SBI has informed that as part from the development of IBBIC, it has taken steps to integrate blockchain technology into trade-related transactions,” he said.

Additionally, he said, SBI has been integrated on a blockchain-enabled platform, to exchange payment-related compliance queries.

Canara Bank said it has formed a small technology innovation team, which is working to identify potential use cases best suited for banking operations, he added.

In response to another question, Karad said that the percentage of total non-performing assets (NPA) has increased since 2018-19 under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY).

During the period 2018-2019, the total NPA against disbursement stood at 2.51% (Rs 17,712.63 crore). This figure rose to 2.53% or Rs 17,712.63 crore in 2019-20 and 3.61% or Rs 34,090.34 crore in 2020-21, he said.

As of the end of March 31, 2021, over 16.92 lakh Mudra cards have been issued, he said in another reply.

As of March 31, 2021, he said, Rs 5.81 lakh crore has been disbursed by public sector banks (including regional rural banks) under the PMMY with a current outstanding amount of Rs 1.81 lakh. crore. The reimbursement rate therefore stands at around 69%, he added.

Kristan F. Talley