Apart from delivering the famous Srikrishna Commission report on the Bombay riots, Justice BN Srikrishna has come up with an approach paper on ways to strengthen the regulatory framework in the financial sector, protecting the rights of the consumers. He spoke about several aspects of the report. Excerpts.
Is it appropriate to tamper with the framework of India’s financial sector, which has survived the global financial crisis?
India’s financial sector has come out strong at a time when most countries are battling. We looked at Australia, which has not been impacted by the global crisis and we came to the conclusion that it is better to do this when there is peace and not in the middle of a crisis. It is best to do things which may further strengthen the framework of our financial sector now, when there is no crisis.
The approach paper suggests that there should be a unified regulator for the financial sector, but why is the Reserve Bank of India untouched?
For the time being, we feel that the RBI should be left as it is and should continue with its functioning. However, at a later stage, depending on how things work out under a unified regulator, RBI should also be merged.
What is the need for merging all regulators?
We need to have one unified regulator so that we can have a more effective framework, which would also ensure speedy functioning. There is no communication between regulators today and there are areas of overlap.
Do you think that the report will be implemented considering that key bills have been pending for approval for decades?
I have been asked to give a report on the financial sector which is strong and effective while protecting the consumers, now we are doing just that. Rest is not in my hands.
What about a financial redressal agency?
We need to have something specific to the financial sector. We may even look at stipulating timeframes to deal with cases so that consumers’ rights are protected.
Will the final report will be ready by March 24?
Yes. The stakeholders have to send in their inputs and suggestions by this month end and then we would finalise the report.