PAC Seeks List of Top Loan Defaulters from the Finmin
Asks officials to submit names of firms who owed 100cr or more to banks; also wants details of demonetised notes returned to RBI
New Delhi: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Friday asked finance ministry officials to submit a list of top loan defaulters, especially those who owed ₹ 100 crore or more to banks. It also sought, within 15 days, details of the currency notes returned to the central bank after the November 8 demonetisation announcement.
The secretary at the Department of Revenue has committed to soon provide it a list of defaulters who have been served with prosecution notices, sources said. Secretaries at the departments of economic affairs, financial services and revenue appeared before the PAC on Friday.
The PAC direction to finance ministry officials, incidentally, comes a day after finance minister Arun Jaitley told the Lok Sabha that the previous Congress-led government’s “over management of banks” was responsible for the ballooning of non-performing assets at public sector banks.
With members expressing impatience over the delay in authorities giving it an estimate of the demonetised ₹ 1,000 and ₹ 500 notes returned to the Reserve Bank of India, thecommitteeheadedbyCongress MP KV Thomas asked the officials to submit this data within15 days.
This demand came after officials again skirted queries of the Joint Parliamentary Committee by saying the process of estimating the returned notes was still ongoing. The only specific data they mentioned was that of the notes returned, ₹ 500 crore were found to be counter-
feit, an information they had disclosed to the committee earlier as well. The PAC also asked officials to im-
mediately lift all restrictions on cash withdrawal. The issue of NPA came up when PAC expressed concerns about the performance of banks, especially the state-run ones, and the impact of the “bulging NPAs” on economic growth. PAC chairman Thomas is learnt to have told the finance ministry officials that the gross NPAs to the total advances ratio at scheduled commercial banks had increased to 9.1% from 7.8% between March and September of 2016. BJP member Nishikant Dubey claimed that his raising the issue of NPAs in the Lok Sabha, in the past, was particularly instrumental in theSupremeCourtsettingupaspecial team to probe the issue, a source said. Therefore, Dubey said he wasallthemoreentitledtobeinformed about the list of firms served with prosecution notices. Some members of the PAC continued to question the rationale of demonetisation and demanded again to know whether it was the government or RBI which first made the decision on the note-recall.