Public Accounts Committee seeks list of big loan defaulters from Finance Ministry NEW DELHI: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Friday asked finance ministry officials to submit a list of top loan defaulters(दिवालिया) , especially those who owed Rs 100 crore or more to banks. It also sought, within 15 days, details of the currency notes returned to the central bankafter the November 8 demonetisation announcement. The secretary at the Department of Revenue has committed to soon provide it a list of defaulters who have been served with prosecution(अभियोग) notices, sources said. Secretaries at the departments of economic affairs, financial services and revenue appeared before the PAC on Friday.
The PAC direction to finance ministry officials, incidentally, comes a day after finance minister Arun Jaitley told the Lok Sabha that the previous Congress-led government’s “over management of banks” was responsible for the ballooning of non performing(गैर निष्पादित) assets at public sector banks.
With members expressing impatience(अधीरता) over the delay in authorities giving it an estimate of the demonetised Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes returned to the Reserve Bank of India, the committee headed by Congress MP KV Thomas asked the officials to submit this data within 15 days.
This demand came after officials again skirted queries of the JPC by saying that the process of estimating the returned notes was still ongoing. The only specific data they mentioned was that of the notes returned, `500 crore were found to be counterfeit, an information they had disclosed to the committee earlier as well. The PAC also asked officials to immediately lift all restrictions on cash withdrawal.
The issue of NPA came up when PAC expressed concerns about the performance of banks, especially the state-owned ones, and the impact of the “bulging NPAs” on economic growth. PAC chairman Thomas is learnt to have told the finance ministry officials that the gross NPAs to the total advances ratio at scheduled commercial banks had increased to 9.1% from 7.8% between March and September of 2016.
BJP member Nishikant Dubey claimed that his raising the issue of NPAs in the Lok Sabha in the past was particularly instrumental in the Supreme Court setting up a special team to probe the issue, a source said. Therefore, Dubey said he was all the more entitled to be informed about the list of firms served with prosecution notices.
Some members of the PAC continued to question the rationale of demonetisation and demanded again to know whether it was the government or the RBI which first made the decision on the note-recall.
PAC chairman KV Thomas is learnt to have replied to the notice for a motion of privilege(विशेषाधिकार) against him filed by a BJP member, for having reportedly said that the panel has the powers to summon ministers including the Prime Minister.
In his reply to the speaker, the Congress MP maintained that as per the rule, with a consensus decision within the PAC and with the permission of the speaker, the panel can call ministers before it, a source said. According to this source, the response also said the Prime Minister was only the first among the ministers.