Mumbai: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government on the much-debated issue of banks’ loans write-offs perpetrated in the past few years. Reacting to a story (Dec. 20), Gandhi tweeted: “A new record by Modi Government. Attacking the common man, busy protecting his friends.”
The reference was to the report based on RTI in which it was revealed how the NDA scored three times over the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government in the matter of loans-write offs. Earlier, the report was tweeted by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy and Aam Aadmi Party National Spokesperson Preeti Sharma-Menon in the past two days.
As per the RTI revelations to a Pune businessman Prafful Sarda, the BJP achieved the highest loans write-off between 2015-2019 – which turned out to be more than three times compared with the figures of bad loans written off during the UPA regime from 2004-2014. During the UPA’s 10-year rule, around Rs 2,20,328 crore was written off by various banks, and this figure shot up to Rs 7,94,354 crore during the NDA regime from 2015-2019, resulting in a corresponding reduction in the banks’ NPAs.
The data provided to Sarda gave shocking insights into the state of affairs of not only public sector banks, but also those in the private sector and foreign banks. Of the loan write-offs in the Congress’ decade (2004-2014), the PSBs accounted for approximately Rs 1,58,994 crore, while the amounts written off by the private banks was Rs 41,391 crore and for foreign banks it was Rs 19,945 crore, with no write-offs by Scheduled Banks.
Later, in the NDA regime (2015-2019), the figures provided show a phenomenal increase with the PSBs accounting for a stupendous Rs 6,24,370 crore loan write-off, with the private banks writing off Rs 1,51,989 crore and the foreign banks shared the remaining 17,995 crore, besides an additional write-off by Scheduled Banks totalling Rs 1,295 crore (Total – Rs 7,95,649 crore).
In a silver lining, however, during the BJP rule, there was some recovery from the write-offs between 2015 and 2019 — a paltry Rs 82,571 crore or roughly 12 per cent of the total Rs 7,94,354 crore written off, according to the RTI reply.
“The official data said that in the UPA’s 10 years (2004-2014), the total loans written off was Rs 2,20,330 crore, but in less than five years of the NDA (2015-2019), that figure zoomed up by almost 350 per cent to Rs 7,94,354 crore,” Sarda explained.
The surprising aspect is the huge increase in the write-offs by foreign banks — from 2004-2014, it was Rs 19,945 crore in the UPA’s 10-year tenure (Rs 1,995 crore each year on an average), but shot up to Rs 17,995 in the NDA’s four years between 2015-2019 (Rs 4,499 crore annual average).
The businessman questioned why the government should permit such write-offs by the financially sound foreign banks instead of concentrating on the financial health of the Indian PSBs, private, scheduled and cooperative banks which directly concern a majority of the countrymen.
This is the second time in a week that Gandhi has reacted to a story on (Dec. 11) – on Dec. 14, he referred to a report on how of the Rs.20 Lakh-crore pandemic package of the Centre, barely 10 percent had been disbursed, as per a RTI revelation.