FM Jait­ley Blames UPA for NPAs in PSU Banks

Says in LS govt ready for sug­ges­tion on ban­ning cash do­na­tions to po­lit­i­cal par­ties

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

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

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