The employees of various public sector banks (PSB) organised under the banner of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) are planning to hold a dharna in front of the Parliament, as a protest against bank against mergers of banks and privatisation, on 10 December.
The union government has resorted to consolidation in public sector banks by merging them which would result into closure of 6 banks, having over 5,000 bank branches, which would eventually lead to huge unemployment. The merger is neither demanded by customers nor shareholders nor employees of the bank.
This space is being made available to payment banks, small finance banks and universal banks from private sector. Thus Corporate who today are bank defaulters, are day dreaming to be the owners of those banks. As such major unions including AIBEA AIBOA BEFI INBOC, AIBOC and INBEF, representing 80 per cent of the banking industry including employees and officers, have organised the dharna, Devidas Tuljapurkar, General Secretary of the Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation, affiliated to All India Bank Employees Association told this correspondent.
The unions have demanded accountability of officials responsible for the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) and effective steps to recover dues. This is hard earned money of common men and the banks are supposed to bear the loss. In order to overcome the loss, the banks are levying various service charges and have also reduced the interest rates on deposits.
As per the data tabled in the Parliament by the Minister of State for Finance Anurang Thakur in response to a query by MP Deepak Baiji, scheduled commercial banks have written off around Rs. 6,00,769 crore in the last 5 years. Of this the State Bank of India alone written off around Rs. 2,67,263 crore (44.48 per cent). Similarly in 2018-19 alone, around 35 per cent bad debts were written off by SBI. The data further revealed that of the total Rs. 6,00,769 crore , hardly Rs. 43,059 crore (7.16 per cent) was related to the agriculture sector. Whereas staggering Rs. 1.66 lakh crore (27.69 per cent) outstanding dues were related to trade and Rs 4 lakh crore (65.15 per cent) to the corporate sector.
In response to a question by MP Pradyut Bordoli, Thakur also stated that in the last 7 years, the government infused Rs. 3.38 lakh crore towards capital in public sector banks, by making a provision in the budget which meant that the attempts are on to cover up losses with the tax collected from common people, Tuljapurkar said. The bad debits which were written off included, the debts worth Rs. 1.07 lakh crore of 88 borrowers (with outstanding dues of Rs 500 crore and above) and the debts worth Rs 2.75 lakh crore of 980 borrowers( with outstanding dues of Rs.100 crore and above).
In the meanwhile union finance ministry has suggested that RBI should set up “Stress Asset Fund” to buy out stressed assets of the country’s top 25 shadow lenders and revive the financial sector. The proposed a bailout plan is based on the lines of the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Programme following the 2008 financial crisis. In that year, United States Treasury Department had worked out a $700 billion bailout plan to address the financial crisis. The attempt is being made to pull India’s financial sector out of a deep slump and get credit flowing back into a weak economy.
Shadow lenders account for a large chunk of India’s credit market, accounting for a 30% share of auto loans and more than 40 per cent of home loans as of December 2018, according to RBI . Any new measure is likely to help such as Indiabulls Housing Finance, Piramal Enterprises, Reliance Capital, Shriram Transport Finance and Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services.
The new proposal comes after the government’s 1 trillion rupees partial credit guarantee scheme under which state run banks would buy high-rated pooled assets of financially sound shadow lenders failed to take off.
The shadow banking sector has been battling a credit crunch ever since one of the sector’s biggest firms Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services collapsed in late 2018 amid fraud allegations.
The government has also asked the RBI to consider a one time waiver to banks from classifying some real estate loans as bad loans. However the RBI has been reluctant to open its balance sheet for a large bail out programme for the shadow banks as it feels the step is too drastic and more discussions are required, official sources said.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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