New Delhi: CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act to recover huge loans advanced by state-run banks to corporates by naming the top 100 defaulters.
“I urge you as Prime Minister to put into practice an urgent action plan to start recovery of pending loans from the Top 100 borrowers,” Yechury said in an open letter to Modi released to the media on Friday.
“You must begin by making public their names with the due amount; the list is already available with the RBI, your government and the Supreme Court.”
The Marxist leader said no further public money must be given to the public sector banks (PSBs) till all the assets of the defaulters have been monetised.
“The failure to do so would mean that your government is making the poor Indians pay for the profligacy of these crony capitalists.”
Yechury said the plan to recapitalise the PSBs by eroding Reserve Bank of India’s capital base must be shelved.
“And the principle of recovery first, recapitalization later must be followed in letter and spirit by your government.
“The failure to do so only confirms that your government remains beholden to the power of ill-gotten money, hence patronizes and promotes crony capitalism,” he added.
He quoted the latest RBI Financial Stability Report as again highlighting the precarious situation of the banking sector.
“As of end-March 2016, Gross Non-performing Assets (GNPAs) of all Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) are at Rs 560,822 crore, 7.71 per cent of their gross advances of Rs 72,73,927 crore.
“In addition, the restructured standard advances are at Rs 294,729 crore, 4.05 per cent of the gross advances.
“This means that Rs 855,551 crore of the loans given by our banks have not been returned by the borrowers.
“Going by their response and the action taken by your government so far, it is highly unlikely that these monies will be returned any time soon.
“Needless to add, this is every single Indian’s money which has been misappropriated by these borrowers, which are mainly big corporates.”
Yechury pointed out how during the Lok Sabha election campaign of 2014, Modi had promised to bring back all the black money from abroad and deposit Rs 15-20 lakh in every Indian’s bank account.
“Leave alone your promise of bringing that amount back, money from the banking system under your watch, if the country’s top auditor is to be believed, has ‘been transferred abroad and may never get recovered’.”
According to Yechury, the top 10 corporate houses owe a staggering Rs 7 lakh crore to PSBs and financial institutions.
He said the Modi government had not put the big business houses under any pressure to return the loans. “They continue to flash their lavish lifestyles and their personal wealth remains unaffected.
“While the crony capitalists make merry, your government is harsh on poor farmers, (who) face confiscation of their utensils and cattle when they can’t pay a loan of a few thousand rupees!”