Finance Ministry exploring insurance bonds as alternative to bank guarantees

Finance Ministry to consider Insurance as a Bank security

The government is considering, introducing insurance bonds as an alternative to bank guarantees, Finance Secretary T V Somanathan said here on Tuesday. Somanathan made the announcement during a meeting between industry captains and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is on a two-day visit to the financial capital.

“Government is exploring on instituting insurance bonds as alternatives to bank guarantees,” an official statement said.

Bank guarantees are usually asked for while extending a loan and typically require collateral. An insurance bond is also a surety but it does not require any collateral.

As per reports last year, insurance regulator Irdai was also looking at the option of insurers offering surety bonds in the context of road projects.

Sitharaman, who met the industry captains in the evening, said the government is committed to working towards ensuring policy certainty, adding that the regulators also have a key role in ensuring the same.

She said the government is working with the regulators on this “important issue”, as per the statement.

The finance minister emphasized the importance of ‘India’s own equity capital’ while addressing the industry and assured government facilitation for sunrise sectors and startups.

Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said his department was working on tax-related issues of startups and sought industry inputs on the same.

Sitharaman also assured the industry of addressing issues related to competitiveness, including high power tariffs, and matters related to cumbersome regulatory compliances, the statement said.

The economy is moving gradually from a bank-led lending model to a more market-based finance model and the operationalization of the Development Finance Institution (DFI) will ensure long-term lending for projects, Sitharaman said.

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