Bulk of NPAs arose out of loans given during UPA: Jaitley

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New Delhi: The bulk of NPAs of banks have arisen out of loans given before 1 April 2014, due to aggressive lending and without proper risk assessment and even without being backed by securities, the government today said in the Rajya Sabha.

Replying to questions on rising NPAs of banks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made it clear that the government has not written off any bank loan and the liability of the borrowers for repayment of these loans remained.

“One thing is clear that there has been an aggressive lending practice and at times laxity and at times lack of risk assessment as far as grant of loans are concerned. And, that is why a very large number of these loans became NPAs. Many of them are not backed by adequate securities also,” he told the Upper House during the Question Hour.

To a question by SAD member Naresh Gujral on why a forensic audit of big loan defaulters cannot be ordered, Jaitley said “you cannot have a fishing inquiry into a transaction to find out what went wrong”.

Noting that the NPA debate will never end, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram asked whether performing loans as on 31 March 2014, have become non-performing later and whether that is a scam.

“Obviously, the question does not relate to loans given with regard to particular dates. But, it is absolutely clear that bulk of these NPAs have arisen out of loans that were given prior to 1 April 2014,” Jaitley said in reply.

In his written reply, Jaitley said as a result of transparent recognition of NPAs, the NPA amount of public sector banks rose from Rs 2.16 lakh crore (domestic) as on 31 March 2014 to Rs 7.33 lakh crore (global) as on 30 September 2017.

As per the list provided to the House, Jaitley said the gross NPAs (global) of State Bank of India is the highest at Rs 1,86,115 crore, followed by Rs 57,630 crore of Punjab National Bank and Bank of India of Rs 49,307 crore as on 30 September.

Jaitley said the banks did aggressive lending and some accounts defaulted willfully as they did not make proper risk assessment.

The Finance Minister also made it clear that neither the government, nor the banks waive off any corporate loans.

“No one waives the loan. After four years when the loan is non-performing and its recovery is bleak, then its category is changed, but the recovery liability remains,” he said.

PTI