Although the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic again brought businesses and economic activities to a standstill, Chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI), Dinesh Kumar Khara has expressed hope that the country's economy would recover in the ongoing financial year. The Chairman noted that the global economy contracted by 3.3 per cent in 2020 with the pandemic causing significant loss of lives and livelihood.
The GDP in India contracted by 7.3 per cent in FY2021 and the country experienced a second wave of infections with cases rising rapidly since March 2021, he said while addressing the 66th Annual General Meeting of the bank.
He, however, said that policy measures and the coordinated efforts of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Centre were directed towards enabling growth on a more durable basis during these difficult times.
"Notwithstanding the second wave of Covid-19, Indian economy, through its resilience, is poised for a recovery in FY2022," the SBI chief told the shareholders of the bank.
Speaking on the performance of the bank in FY21, he said that although the last fiscal was an exceptionally challenging year for the entire world, the state-run bank was able to function against all odds with minimal disruption for the customers.
"The business continuity plans that were chalked out have worked well for the Bank and this is reflected in various parameters of the Bank's performance in FY 2021."
Notably, the bank has achieved a high level of digitization with a share of Alternate Channels in total transactions increasing to 93 per cent in FY2021, thereby converting a challenging situation into an opportunity, the Chairman said.
He said that in the current financial year, SBI will continue to accelerate its digital agenda, adding that the scope and reach of YONO will be expanded further.
"With the rollout of pre-packaged insolvency for resolution, resumption of courts and formation of National Asset Reconstruction Company, efforts will be in full force to keep the momentum in stressed asset recovery in the current financial year."
The bank is comfortably placed in terms of growth capital. Opportunities for lending in promising sectors will be explored to diversify the portfolio and contain risk.
"In conclusion, the bank adjusted to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and is better positioned to tackle any subsequent wave. I am cautiously optimistic that the performance trajectory of FY2021 will continue in FY2022 as well."