The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) made a decision to reduce the key policy rate or the repo rate by 25 bps to 6.25% in the last bimonthly policy review of 2018-19 while changing the policy stance to "neutral" from "calibrated tightening".
More importantly, the MPC has spelt out the change in policy stance to "neutral" from what was called "calibrated tightening so far".
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 6.0 per cent, and the marginal standing facility rate and the Bank Rate to 6.5 per cent. The RBI has thus cut rate for the first time in 17 months since August 2017.
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The central bank also cut its estimates on headline inflation, which cooled off to an 18-month low of 2.2 percent in December, for the next year.
The MPC move to slash benchmark interest rate by 0.25 per cent to 6.25 per cent will result in lower cost of borrowing for the banks, which means they will reduce the benefit on to customers by reducing interest rates on loans, including home loans.
The biggest take away from the policy on Thursday is that this marks the beginning of a fresh rate cut cycle after a prolonged period of rate pause and the MPC wants the markets to understand that.
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Four of six members of the MPC voted to cut the rates, while all six voted for a change in the stance.
The gross domestic product (GDP) growth is likely to be influenced by growth in bank credit and overall financial flows to the commercial sectors, though slowing global demand could play a dampener, said an RBI document released after the three-day meeting of the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
The shift in monetary policy comes nearly a week after Modi's government unveiled a budget packed with measures sure to please many voters, including fresh tax breaks for middle-class families and payments to India's struggling small farmers. The customary post-Budget board meeting was earlier scheduled for February 9 but has now been deferred.
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