Arun Jaitley justifies SBI loan write-off but says dues will be pursued
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday justified the State Bank of India’s decision to write off loans of Rs 7,016 crore, saying the loans had not been waived.
Confronting CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury’s criticism over the SBI move in parliament, Jaitley said, “”It only means that in accounting books, it is listed as a non-performing asset. A write off doesn’t mean forgiving loans. The loan will still be pursued.”
SBI, India’s largest public sector bank, has reportedly cleaning up non-performing assets worth Rs 7,016 crore from its books by writing off loans given to 63 wilful defaulters including loans given to Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines.
Reports said that of the 100 wilful defaulters, 63 accounts in the list have been fully written off, 31 have been partially written off and six have been shown as non-performing assets (NPAs).
The new decision taken by SBI has triggered criticism amid the government’s alleged drive against corruption and black money – by demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes – which has left the people stranded in queues at ATMs and banks.
SBI’s efforts to recover its dues from wilful defaulters have been futile over the time. The bank seems to have started a clean-up of its balance sheets by writing off Rs 48,000 crore worth bad loans.
The loans given to Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines, which tops the wilful defaulters’ list with an whopping amount of Rs 1,201 crore, and 62 others will not be shown in the bank’s balance sheet as the SBI has dropped the money into Advance Under Collection Account (AUCA), technically known as a write-off.