The Enforcement Directorate (ED) confiscated assets worth Rs 15,186.64 crore under the money laundering law and nearly all these assets have been restituted to public sector banks, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. While answering the supplementary questions, the Finance Minster noted that specific actions have been taken against the defaulters via various legal provisions and this has resulted in huge amounts of money going back to the banks.
Regarding the government's action against wilful defaulters, the minister informed the House, “As of March 31, 2023, legal suits were filed for recovery against 13,978 loan accounts, action under the SARFAESI Act has been initiated in 11,483 cases, FIRs have been filed in 5,674 cases, and an aggregate amount of Rs 33,801 crore has been recovered. As of December 1, 2023, assets amounting to Rs 15,186.64 crores under the PMLA have been confiscated by the ED out of which Rs 15,183.77 crores have been restituted to the Public Sector Banks,” reported PTI.
Meanwhile, in response to another question, the minister explained the meaning of phone banking as the method, “Through which political interference (during UPA rule of 2004-2014) spoilt all our banks and drove them to a loss-making situation. ‘Phone Banking' was at that time when people would call the banks and say 'so and so will come to seek a loan from your bank, please grant it', meaning that there's no need to look at their eligibility, etc & that the loan must be granted.”
Sitharaman also credited the initiatives under the Modi government for helping India become the fastest-growing economy in the world and logging a GDP growth rate of 7.6 per cent in the last quarter.
Elaborating on the health of the commercial banking sector, the finance ministry informed that during the last two fiscal years, the amount of non-performing asset (NPA) accounts in the banks dipped from 2.19 crore to 2.06 crore, indicating a decline of 6.2 per cent. Similarly, the aggregate outstanding of these accounts decreased from Rs 7.41 lakh crore to Rs 5.72 lakh crore, dipping by 22.9 per cent, during the same period.
Further, the slippage ratio of commercial banks reduced from 2.74 per cent in 2021-22 to 1.78 per cent in the 2022-23 fiscal period. The net NPA ratio of the banks also improved to 0.95 per cent in 2022-23 from 5.94 per cent in 2017-18. In state-owned banks, the net NPA reduced from 5.94 per cent in 2017-18 to 1.24 per cent in 2022-23, the ministry noted.