Blaming previous Congress-led governments for the non-performing assets (NPA) situation in the banking sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said action has been initiated against 12 large defaulters with an outstanding of nearly Rs 1.75 lakh crore, who were given the loans before 2014.
Work was on to recover around Rs 1 lakh crore from another 27 large loan accounts, he said. Modi was speaking at the launch of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) here, which will commence operations with 650 branches across the country.
“Humare desh mein phone banking ka prasar us samay utna nahin hua tha, lekin naamdaron ne phone par banking aur phone par karz dilwane shuru kar diye the. Jis bhi bade udyogpati ko loan chahiye hota tha, woh naamdaron se bank ko phone karwa deta tha… bankwaale phir us vyakti ya uski company ko jhat se karoron rupaye ka karz de dete the. Saare niyam, saare kayde-kanoon se bada, us naamdar parivaar se aane waala phone ban gaya tha. Congress aur uske naamdaron ki phone banking ne desh ko bahut nuksaan pahunchaya (Phone banking had not proliferated in our country much at that time but banking on phone and loans through phone calls had begun. Whichever big industrialist wanted a loan would have the naamdaars (one with a big name, influential) call the bank, and crores of rupees in loans would be immediately sanctioned for that person or his company. Phonecalls from that naamdaar family had become bigger than any laws or rules. The Congress and phone banking by its naamdaars have hurt the country a lot),” Modi said.
He said that since 2014, the Centre has been dealing firmly with the “distortions and problems” that have arisen in India’s banking sector due to indiscriminate loan advances. Existing loans have been reviewed, he said, and a professional approach has been taken. Measures such as the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill have been taken to ensure that the guilty are punished, he said.
“Pichle chaar saal mein 50 crore se bade sabhi loans ki sameeksha ki gayi hai, loan ke sharton ka kadai se paalan ho, yeh sunishchit kiya jaa raha hai. Humnein kanoon badle, bankon ke merger ka nirnay liya, banking sector mein professional approach ko badhava diya hai (In the last four years, all loans of more than Rs 50 crore have been analysed, and it is being ensured that loan conditions are being strictly met. We have changed the laws, decided on the merger of banks, and encouraged a professional approach in the banking sector),” Modi said.
The Prime Minister underscored the NPA problem to highlight the Centre’s financial inclusion measures, including the launch of the IPPB — which will allow postmen to provide financial services to villagers and poor farmers. The IPPB has tied up with third-party service providers including PNB Metlife and Bajaj Allianz to provide services such as credit and insurance. The postman, the Prime Minister said, has long been a respected figure in the villages, and retains trust despite the advent of modern technology. There are over 1.5 lakh post offices and over 3 lakh postmen — or “grameen dak sevaks” — who are connected to the people, and who shall be empowered with smartphones and digital devices to provide financial services, he said.
The PM expressed hope that IPPB will play a role in growth of the country’s economy. While Indian athletes were giving their best ever performance at the Asian Games, the country’s economy, too, had won a medal by clocking 8.2 per cent GDP growth for the first quarter of 2018-19, he said.