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Centre likely to acquire RBI's stake in National Housing Bank

New Delhi: The Centre is likely to acquire the stake of Reserve Bank of India in housing finance regulator National Housing Bank (NHB), according to certain reliable sources.

Reportedly the share transfer is expected to be cash neutral and thus there will be no cash outgo. Currently, RBI holds 100 percent stake in the NHB. For acquiring RBI's stake in the NHB to the government, the Finance Bill 2018 has amended to the National Housing Bank Act, 1987.

The Finance Bill 2018 was passed by Parliament in the Budget session. The Finance Ministry has started the process of stake transfer following the assent of the President.

The Union Cabinet had accepted the plan to transfer the RBI stake but could not be done due to certain unidentified reason.

It is to be noted that the government has already acquired RBI's stakes in State Bank of India and National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard).

In 2007, the government acquired 59.73 percent stake held by RBI in the country's largest bank SBI for Rs 35,531.33 crore. However, NABARD stake transfer happened in 2010.

It was the Narasimhan Committee that recommended the transfer of RBI's stake in State Bank of India, NABARD and NHB to the government to differentiate the central bank's role as the owner of banks and the sector regulator.

After getting ownership of NHB, the government would also have a greater say in the boards of these institutions and the flexibility to issue directions to meet its credit objectives for the priority sector.

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