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Govt to take view on privatisation of public sector banks after consultation with dept, regulator

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NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (PTI): The government on Monday said it will take a view on privatisation of public sector banks (PSBs) after consultation with the concerned department and regulator.

Consideration of issues related to disinvestment and decision on selection, terms and conditions, etc. in case of strategic sale is entrusted to the Cabinet committee designated for this purpose under the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961, minister of state for finance Bhagwat Karad said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

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“Before such consideration for decision thereon, consultation is undertaken with the ministries and departments concerned and, where necessary, with the regulator concerned,” he said.

In the Union Budget for the financial year (FY) 2021-22, he said, the government’s intent to take up privatisation of two PSBs and approval of a policy of strategic disinvestment of Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) was announced.

The objectives of the policy include enabling growth of public sector enterprises through infusion of private capital, thereby contributing to economic growth and new jobs, and financing of social sector and development programmes of the government, he said.

A bank is classified as a Public Sector Bank (PSB) or a Private Sector Bank (PVB) by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

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Karad in reply to another question said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered 102 cases during the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 (up to 30.11.2022) involving 135 private companies or firms or individuals in the country for trapping people on the pretext of doubling/increasing their money.

Replying to another question, Karad said, the gross NPAs of public sector banks had peaked to Rs 8,95,601 crore (Gross NPA ratio of 14.58 per cent) in 2018 primarily as a result of the asset quality review undertaken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

However, the stressed assets transparently recognised as NPAs have since declined to Rs 5,40,958 crore (Gross NPA ratio of 7.28 per cent) as on March 31, 2022, consequent to the government’s strategy of recognition, resolution, recapitalisation and reforms, he said.

Decline in NPAs can be due to upgradation of NPA accounts, recoveries in NPA accounts and lower slippages, he said.

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In the last five financial years, he said, PSBs have made an aggregate recovery of Rs 4,80,111 crore from NPA accounts and upgradation of NPAs of Rs 1,45,356 crore.

Further, he said, slippages into NPAs have reduced from Rs 3,38,710 crore for FY 2016-17 to Rs 1,44,315 crore for FY 2021-22, all of which has resulted in decline of NPAs.

The decline in NPAs can also be due to write-off which is primarily an exercise undertaken for cleaning of balance sheet, availing of tax benefit and optimising capital by PSBs, as per RBI guidelines and banks’ board-approved policies, he added.


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