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Cong accuses govt of waiving loans of 'crony friends'; demands names of beneficiaries be made public

  The Congress on Saturday accused the Modi government of waiving loans to the tune of nearly Rs 8 lakh crore of crony capitalists since 2014 and demanded that the names of the beneficiaries be made public and a high-level panel set up to examine the process of loan waiver. Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala cited a report

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New Delhi Published on: February 22, 2020 23:28 IST
Cong accuses govt of waiving loans of 'crony friends'; demands names of beneficiaries be made public
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Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala

The Congress on Saturday accused the Modi government of waiving loans to the tune of nearly Rs 8 lakh crore of crony capitalists since 2014 and demanded that the names of the beneficiaries be made public and a high-level panel set up to examine the process of loan waiver. Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala cited a report by global financial services company Credit Suisse to level the allegations against the government.

There was no immediate reaction from the government or the BJP on the allegations.

"Loans worth Rs 7.77 lakh crore have been written off. It is a basic question to ask -- who are these people after all? Don't we as citizens of this country and taxpayers deserve to know whose loans have been written off?" Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said at a press conference.

Surjewala said the beneficiaries of the loan waiver were crony friends of the government and asked why it could not give debt relief to farmers.

"Shocking state of bank loan waivers, NPAs & impaired banking assets exposed by Credit Suisse report! Since 2014, Modi government has given super sized bank loans waivers worth Rs 7,77,800 Crore!" Surjewala said in a series of tweets.

Why is the Modi government not disclosing the names of the beneficiaries of this "largesse", Surjewala asked.

"Gross banking NPAs are a whopping Rs 9,10,800 crore! Impaired banking assets are a colossal Rs 16,88,000 crore! Credit growth of private banks down to 12 per cent, PSU banks down to 4 per cent!" he said.

The total impaired assets of the banking sector have remained at Rs 16,88,600 crore, or 15.7 per cent of the total advances of banks, as of December 2019, despite a decline in gross non-performing assets (NPAs) to Rs 9,10,800 crore, or 9.2 per cent of the advances, the Indian Express reported citing the Credit Suisse report.

Impaired assets of banks include both gross NPAs - loans that are due for repayment after 90 days and NPAs written off by lenders. Total write-offs since FY2014 have amounted to Rs 7,77,800 crore, 7.3 per cent of the total bank advances, the media report said citing data.

"We have three demands -- names of those whose debt has been waived should be made public, a high level committee should be constituted to examine the process of loan waiver, and this committee should assess financial viability and potential of the banking sector," Shrinate said.

Whenever the BJP government is questioned on the condition of the banking sector, they blame the previous government, but lying again and again does not change the truth, the Congress spokesperson said.

What has the BJP government done for banking reforms in the past six years, Shrinate asked.

The government will tell you that NPAs have gone down from 11.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent. It should have been good news and the economy should have improved. But the truth is different, banks are actually waiving loans of big crony capitalists, she said.

Why is there such a shroud of secrecy around the loan waivers, she asked.

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