The Reserve Bank of India, on Thursday, allowed banks to treat loans as ‘standard’ even when the date of commencement of project is delayed by two years, a move that would provide easier fund access to infrastructure firms.

“Revisions of the date of commencement of commercial operations (DCCO) and consequential shift in the repayment schedule for equal or shorter duration (including the start date and end date of revised repayment schedule) will not be treated as restructuring,” the RBI said in a notification.

It is, however, subject to the revised DCCO falling “within the period of two years and one year from the original DCCO stipulated at the time of financial closure for infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure projects, respectively.’’

This will help banks save on provisioning cost as they have to make lower provision if loan remains a standard one.

At the same time, infrastructure projects would have easy access to bank finance.

According to notification, loans could be treated standard if an infrastructure project is involved in court cases and as a consequence of this there is a delay of four years.

However, the company should continue to service debt obligation as per restructured norms.

In case if the infrastructure project is delayed for another one year (after two years) for other reasons beyond the control of promoters, it would be treated as a standard account.

In this connection, it is clarified that multiple revisions of the DCCO and consequential shift in repayment schedule for equal or shorter duration (including the start date and end date of revised repayment schedule) will be treated as a single event of restructuring provided that the revised DCCO is fixed within the respective time limits, it said.

It has also given freedom to banks to extend commencement date for operation beyond the respective time limits specified by the RBI.

However, banks will not be able to retain the ‘standard’ asset classification status of the loan accounts in such cases.

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