The public sector banks (PSB) wrote off a loan worth Rs 2.41 lakh crore in over three years, between April 214 to September2017. The minister of state for finance, Shiv Pratap Shukla revealed it in a written response in Parliament on Tuesday.
The discloser mad by Mr Shukla brought a strong criticism from Bengal Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee."I am shocked to see that at a time, when the farmers in the country are crying and committing suicide for their loan burden and asking for a waiver of farmers' loan, the Government of India have not even considered that," the West Bengal chief minister said in a Facebook post.
In his response the union finance minister of state, Mr Shukla said that writing off non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans is a regular exercise conducted by banks to clean up their balance sheet and to achieve taxation efficiency.
"As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data on global operations, public sector banks have written-off (including compromise) an amount of Rs. 2,41,911 crore from the financial year 2014-15 till September 2017," the minister said.
Borrowers, however, continue to be liable for repayment despite the write-off, the minister added. Mr Shukla said the recovery of dues takes place on an ongoing basis under a legal mechanism so write-offs do not benefit borrowers.
The non-disclosure of the borrower information was also criticised by the Bengal chief minister.
"Even in Parliament reply, the Government of India says that the details of credit information by a public sector bank cannot be disclosed," Ms Banerjee said.
According to the latest RBI data, 21 state-run banks which account for more than two-thirds of the country's banking assets had as of December 31 stressed loans of Rs. 8.26 lakh crore, or 15.8 per cent of their total loans.