FM Jaitley Blames UPA for NPAs in PSU Banks
Says in LS govt ready for suggestion on banning cash donations to political parties
New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley blamed the predecessor United Progressive Alliance government for public sector banks possessing huge nonperforming assets, one of the key factors holding up economic growth. Replying to the debate on the general budget in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, Jaitley said the problem occurred because of “over management” of banks. While refraining from naming Kingfisher Airlines promoter Vijay Mallya, the finance minister asserted that no loan was given to him by the NDA government. He said some documents made it clear that Mallya received bank credit after directions from North Block to banks during the previous regime’s tenure.
In an obvious reference to Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that the current government had given a benefit of ₹ 1,200 crore to Vijay Mallya, Jaitley insisted not “a rupee benefit” was given to the businessman by any bank since the NDA came to power in May 26, 2014. “What evidence does your leader have on the claims he has made that we gave some ₹ 1,200 crore advantage to one person who fled to London? I have heard this at least a dozen times. Not a rupee advantage by any bank, since 26th of May 2014, has been given to that person by any bank whatsoever. This falsehood has been repeated indefinitely,” he said adding that the documents that had come out made it very clear. DEFENDING NDA GOVT While refraining from naming Vijay Mallya, FM asserted no loan was given to him by the NDA government
IDEA OF STATE FUNDING Your optimism is based on the fact that when state funding starts only state-provided funds will be used “Now the documents which have come out and they are all over, that this was happening not by the banks but this was happening through the intervention of North Block. And, the bank officials are having to pay for it now,” Jaitley said. While problem of NPAs was partly slowdown it was also because of over management of the banking system.
On the budget proposal to reduce the ceiling of unknown donations to political parties to ₹ 2,000 Jaitley said that his government was open to the suggestion of not allowing any cash donations to political parties. “The ₹ 2,000 limit, that we have given, is the Election Commission recommendation. It has suggested to lower it from ₹ 20,000 to ₹ 2,000 to make it stringent. If there is consensus for ending it, then it is a different issue. We will discuss it during the Finance Bill,” he said.
On suggestion of state funding of elections, he said: “I am open to the idea. But your optimism is based on the fact that when state funding starts only state-provided funds will be used in elections and nobody will use private funds.”
Arun Jaitley with Congress MP Anand Sharma at Parliament House on Thursday