Banks should recover loans from affluent promoters: Chidambaram

Banks should recover loans from affluent promoters: Chidambaram New Delhi: In a stern warning to wilful defaulters, Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday asked banks to take firm steps against affluent promoters to recover loans from sick companies owned by them.

"We cannot have an affluent promoter and a sick company. Promoters must bring in money ... We wish banks take firm steps to recover NPAs," he told reporters after meeting the heads of PSU banks and financial institutions here.

The warning comes in the backdrop of several companies, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines, unable to repay bank loan.

Gross NPAs of PSU banks have risen from Rs 71,080 crore as on March 2011, to Rs 1.55 lakh crore as on December 2012, of which corporate accounts constitute 53.68 percent.

Of this, about 172 corporate accounts are NPAs of more than Rs 100 crore at the end of December 2012. The amount involved in such cases is to the tune of Rs 37,194 crore.

Asking banks to take more steps to deal with the rising NPAs without hurting the industry, Chidambaram said "Promoters have to bring in additional money and companies have the duty to pay back loans".

Commenting on the same, Finance Services Secretary Rajiv Takru said: "We are trying and banks are also trying to make distinction between wilful defaulters and people who are genuinely stressed and who have genuine problems".

The Finance Minister further said recovery has improved in the past one or two months and banks will take more steps to deal with the rising NPAs.

Terming stalled projects as worrying, Chidambaram said steps are being taken to ensure impediments are removed and credit flow takes place.

As many as 215 projects with an investment of Rs 7 lakh crore are currently stalled and banks have disbursed about Rs 54,000 crore loan towards it, Chidambaram said.


Chidambaram further said the government has identified the main reasons for delay in commencement of new projects in key infrastructure sectors, especially in road and power.

There are 126 new projects for which the outlay is Rs 3.55 lakh crore and amount sanctioned by banks against these was Rs 43,000 crore.

"The main reasons (for delays) are coal linkage, environment clearances, land acquisition," he said adding there is now a greater degree of confidence than what was there 6 months ago.

Replying to a question on charges of money laundering by certain employees of three private sector banks, Chidambaram said the RBI and the Finance Ministry are looking into the issue.

"Secretary, Department of Financial Services is looking at it closely. RBI is looking at it closely. They (banks) themselves have instituted enquiries. Let's give them a little time to come up with the report of the enquiry," he added.

On the proposed all women bank, Chidambaram said the expert committee headed by M B N Rao for the purpose met for the first time on Saturday and the panel will give a blueprint on the bank by April end.

The Finance Minister further said all PSU banks have also shown interest in opening all-women branches. In next six months, he said, all state-run banks will have such branches.

On PSU bank recapitalisation, Chidambaram said they will get Rs 14,000 crore additional capital from government in the next fiscal.

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"Now that we have resolved some issues relating to environment clearance, and NHAI, more coal blocks are being made available... Ministry will start taking sectoral meetings with state governments and promoters to see how we can move these forward," he said.

On liquidity situation, Chidambaram said the Reserve Bank Governor will take steps in the monetary policy review Tuesday.

"The RBI Governor is also aware of issues of liquidity and tomorrow is the monetary policy and am sure he will address the issue of liquidity," he said.

Replying to a question on charges of money laundering by certain employees of three private sector banks, Chidambaram said the RBI and the Finance Ministry are looking into the issue.

"Secretary, Department of Financial Services is looking at it closely. RBI is looking at it closely. They (banks) themselves have instituted enquiries. Let's give them a Little time to come up with the report of the enquiry," he added.

On the proposed all women bank, Chidambaram said the expert committee headed by M B N Rao for the purpose met for the first time on Saturday and the panel will give a blueprint on the bank by April end.

The Finance Minister further said all PSU banks have also shown interest in opening all-women branches. In next six months, he said, all state-run banks will have such branches.

On PSU bank recapitalisation, Chidambaram said state- owned banks will get Rs 14,000 crore additional capital from government in the next fiscal.

For the current financial year he said, three banks are yet to get capital funding and the infusion would be completed by March 31.

He further said the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) would meet after March 22, when Parliament goes into recess. The CCI, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has met twice and discussed projects in sectors like coal, power, oil and gas.

Chidambaram said he would meet the chiefs of PSU banks in the first and second week of June after the audit of annual accounts of the institutions.

On implementation of Basel III norms for banks, Chidambaram said "we will always be compliant with basel norms".

PTI